Thursday, November 26, 2009

Natto 納豆

Natto is the product of leaving your soybeans out for too long so they start to ferment and become questionable. Natto is a rich source of protein and contains pyrazine and nattokinese, thought to prevent blood clotting and thrombosis. Natto conspiracists even tried to claim natto would make you lose weight, causing the Great Natto Shortage of 2007, but it was soon found out the entire thing was made up. As many people in the Kansai area will tell you, its sticky texture and overpowering smell makes it better suited for a trashcan than your mouth but I suppose it's something everyone should try at least once.

How to Prepare
Open the package, hold your nose, and stir it up!

Easy Natto Recipe
Here is a recipe that takes care of the two issues most people have with natto, the texture and the smell.

Natto Fried Rice
Serves 2-3
Prep Time: About 30 mins

  • 2 cups of cooked rice or brown rice
  • 1 pack (50g) of natto
  • Approx. 1 cup chopped scallions
  • Approx. 1 cup chopped vegetables, whatever you have on hand - peppers, carrots, greens, broccoli, etc.
  • 1/4 cup shredded pink pickled ginger 紅生姜
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil ゴマ油
  • 1 teaspoon togarashi
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop up all the vegetables.
2. Heat up a wok or large non-stick frying pan with 1/2 of the sesame oil. Add the green onions and the vegetables, and sauté until the vegetables are a little limp.
3. Add the natto and 1 Tbs. of soy sauce. Sauté until the stickiness of the natto has dissipated.
4. Add the rest of the oil, the ginger and the rice. Stir-fry until the rice and the other ingredients are evenly mixed. Push the mixture to one side, and add the rest of the soy sauce to the bare surface of the pan. Stir-fry a couple of minutes more until everything looks and smells toasty.
5. Season with pepper (probably needed) and salt (probably not needed - taste some before adding!)
6. Finished!

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