Easy Japanese-style Vegan Tempeh Curry

4.75 from 4 votes

Try this healthy Japanese-style dry curry with chopped tempeh as a meat substitute. It’s an easy and simple recipe that even those unfamiliar with tempeh can easily follow.

Japanese style tempeh dry curry

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It has a firm texture and doesn’t lose its shape like tofu, so it’s a great meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians.

Dry curry is a type of curry that originated in Japan. This dish doesn’t require simmering in a soup, so the meal prep time is shorter compared to traditional curry.

    Recommend this recipe for
  • Someone who loves healthy Japanese recipe
  • Someone who wants to learn how to cook tempeh
  • Someone who is looking for an easy curry recipe

Okay, let me introduce you to how to make this healthy and easy Japanese dry curry with tempeh. Let’s get started!

About This Recipe

  • No meat, vegan curry recipe
  • Japanese-style dry curry
  • Easy and quick

What is dry curry?

Dry curry is a Japanese original dish, and it refers to all curries with low water content. It even includes curry-flavored fried rice.

It’s similar to India’s keema curry, made with minced meat, but dry curry has no specific rules for ingredients.

Minced meat dry curry, vegetable dry curry, beans dry curry…you can choose any ingredients you like!

What is Tempeh?


Tempeh is an Indonesian fermented food made by fermenting boiled soybeans. We often compare it to natto as it is also fermented soybeans, but tempeh is more versatile and not sticky like natto, nor does it have a strong smell.

As it is a soybean product, tempeh is a highly nutritious plant-based protein, rich in vitamin B, dietary fiber, and more.

It is typically sold in the form of a plate like the picture above (this one is 500g/17cmx17cm). The soybeans are covered with white mycelium, holding the beans together, so they will not fall apart even if you cut them into thin slices.

It has a firm texture, and the taste is light. Tempeh doesn’t have much smell, but some people may find it offputting. In such cases, cooking with garlic or fresh ginger is good.

How to eat Tempeh the Japanese Way

slice of tempeh

You can enjoy tempeh in various ways, such as baked, stir-fried, deep-fried, and so on.

Since the taste is light, it becomes more flavorful by coating with flour or potato starch and tossing it with seasoning or marinating before cooking.

Tempeh Japanese recipes

*I will create these recipes sometime soon.

Where to Buy in Japan

If you live in Japan and are looking for a place to buy tempeh, I can give you my recommendation.

You might find a small package (such as 100g) in the tofu or natto area, but this online store is the best if you want to buy a larger size.

My recommendation: Motai Tempeh in Nagano

They use Japanese soybeans in their production, which gives their tempeh a rich soybean that enhances its flavor and makes it more delicious. Their service is smooth, and the staff is friendly, which is why I’ve been buying from them for a long time.

They sell 2 sizes: 100g, and 500g. In addition to soybeans, they sell tempeh made from black beans and chickpeas. It’s shipped frozen, and the expiration date is one year.

I always buy Tempeh 500g. The shipping is a little expensive, so I buy in bulk, like 3kg at one time, and keep them in the freezer.

If you are interested, please check Motai Tempeh’s site. They also sell on Amazon.

📋 Ingredients

Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).

Ingredients for Japanese style tempeh dry curry
  • Tempeh
  • Vegetables: Ginger, garlic, onion, and carrot
  • Seasoning: Ketchup, soy sauce, curry powder, and salt


Okay, let me walk you through the steps. You can also watch this video.

How to cook Japanese style tempeh dry curry
  1. Mince ingredients: Mince ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, and tempeh (separately). If you can, use a food processor for the carrots, onions, and tempeh, as it will save you a lot of time.
  2. Stir fry ginger and garlic: Warm a frying pan, pour some olive oil, and stir-fry minced garlic and ginger over low heat.
  3. Stir fry onion and carrot: Add onion and carrot, then stir-fry until tender.
  4. Stir fry tempeh: Add tempeh and stir fry. You can stir-fry the tempeh lightly, as it can be eaten raw.
  5. Season: Blend all the seasoning, pour over, and mix until the color spreads evenly.

Once you add the tempeh, the dish will be complete. Therefore, fry the onions and carrots until they are tender to avoid having a hard texture.

Japanese style tempeh dry curry

Store in the fridge in an airtight container, and it will last for 3 days.

Serve with Japanese steamed rice

In Japan, curry is always served with Japanese steamed rice. This is the best way to eat! Serve with a fresh vegetable salad and you have a healthy, wholesome meal!

Japanese style tempeh dry curry and salad

Other ways to eat

This curry goes well with thick fat udon noodles, as well as boiled potatoes.

  • Curry udon noodles: Blend it with dashi (soup stock), and pour over warm or cold udon noodles
  • Curried potato salad: Mix tempeh curry with mashed potato and season with mayo, salt, and pepper

Thanks for Stopping By!

It’s an incredibly easy curry recipe and a quick go-to option for weeknight meals. If you love curry, Japanese taste, and tempeh, you gotta try this!

I hope you will love this recipe:)

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡. If you’ve tried this recipe (or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!

Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!

Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.

More Tempeh Recipes You Might Like

Japanese style tempeh dry curry

Easy Japanese-style Vegan Tempeh Curry

4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Juri Austin
Try this healthy Japanese-style dry curry with chopped tempeh as a meat substitute. It's an easy and simple recipe that even those unfamiliar with tempeh can easily follow.


  • 1 Frying pan 26cm (10 inch)


  • 1 clove Ginger
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Onion, 120g
  • 1/2 Carrot
  • 1 1/2 c Tempeh, 250g
  • Oil, for cooking


  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


  • Mince ingredients: Mince a ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, and tempeh.
  • Stir fry ginger and garlic: Warm a frying pan, pour some olive oil, and stir fry minced garlic and ginger over low heat.
  • Stir fry onion and carrot: Add onion and carrot then stir fry until tender.
  • Stir fry tempeh: Add tempeh and stir fry.
  • Season: Blend all the seasoning, pour over, and mix until the color spread evenly.



  • Storage: It will last for 3 days in the fridge.
  • You can save time chopping ingredients with a food processor.
  • You can stir fry tempeh lightly as it can be eaten raw.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.3g | Protein: 5.3g | Fat: -1g | Sodium: 602mg | Sugar: 4.5g
Course: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese style tempeh dry curry, vegan
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was very easy. It is such a delicious way to prepare tempeh. I would definitely serve this dish to company, that’s how good it is. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes which turned out to be a very nice compliment.

  2. 4 stars
    Hi! I made this recipe and it was very tasty but also very salty 🙁 What kind of soy sauce are you using?

    1. Hi Serena, thanks for trying my recipe but sorry for the result is not the best… I use Saishikomi Shoyu (Refermented) which is a dark color and more savory than standard one (this is good info: https://www.soysauce.or.jp/en/types-and-how-to-use-them). I think it might be salt…I use sea salt and maybe the amount of salt should be less if you use other types of salt. Let me reconsider the recipe. Thanks for letting me know!