What is Natto? – Japanese fermented Soybeans
Natto is a Japanese snack consisting of fermented soybeans. It is brown with a texture that is slimy and sticky. Stirring the beans with your chopsticks will produce lots of thin, sticky strings. It can look unappealing, but it is a popular food among Japanese.
Usually, natto comes packaged in individual, single-serve packages from around 50 to 100 grams, with the price for a set containing three such packets generally around 100 yen. Single-serve packages are made using small containers that often have a soy sauce or mustard packet with the beans. This is because Japanese often top natto with karashi mustard (hot Japanese mustard), soy sauce, or ponzu.
The Japanese consider natto’s unique flavor an acquired taste. Often, local Japanese enjoy asking foreigners to try it for their first time, then watch their reaction. For Australians reading this, compare this cultural dynamic with vegemite.
A simple recipe, try eating natto straight from the packet with a little soy sauce or karashi mustard; it is commonly eaten like this chilled or at room temperature. If you heat it up, the smell can sometimes be too strong or unpleasant to handle.
But if you’re looking for something a little different, I’ve listed some popular combinations below.
Natto with rice recipe
You can’t go wrong here. Simply top some hot rice with the natto, then season with scallops and some karashi mustard.
Natto maki recipe
You can serve this on rice, or wrapped up like sushi. It’s a creative recipe because you can season it or add other sushi-like ingredients to suit your taste.
Natto on toast recipe
Japanese commonly consume natto as a breakfast food. Try topping your natto toast with a bit of cheese along with Kewpie mayonnaise.
Natto, egg and avocado recipe
Considering its ideal temperature and stickiness, natto makes a fine addition to salads. Raw egg yolks are a great combination as they give a buttery taste and a saucy texture. The simple recipe of avocado, natto and egg yolk makes a perfect, quick, easy lunch packed full of good fats and protein.