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Natto -- Some serving suggestions

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I was looking through Japion, a Japanese language free weekly paper here in NYC, and it had a little sidebar on a variety of ways people eat their natto. I really enjoy natto, by the way. Here are some ingredients to mix with natto to enhance your eating pleasure.

1. Mayonnaise
2. Minced tsukemono
3. Ketchup
4. Salt
5. Umeboshi/ground sesame
6. Wasabi/dashi soy
7. Chopped tomato
8. Grated ginger
9. Chili oil
10. Chinese hot sauce/sesame oil
11. grated daikon/ponzu
12. French dressing
13. Shiso dressing
14. Dashi soy (men-tsuyu dipping sauce)
15. Peanut butter

Other suggestion include adding natto to these common preparations:

1. Mixed into miso soup
2. Mixed into Japanese style omelettes (slightly sweetened)
3. Natto fried rice

I've tried a few of these methods, but I'm curious about some of the more odd suggestions. But I'm willing to give it a try. You?

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  1. There are some other natto recipes in the link below.

    I eat natto the most basic way, by stirring it up, then adding shoyu and green onions, then pouring over rice. Sometimes I will crush some toasted seaweed on top.

    I've seen natto mixed in with spaghetti, along with shoyu and butter. I didn't try it but I imagine it would be good.

    Natto with mayonnaise, however, sounds absolutely horrible! Same with natto and peanut butter.

    Link: http://www.gaia21.net/natto/recipe.htm

    1. some more serving suggestions:

      - w/kimchi
      - w/avocado & soy sauce
      - curry topped w/natto
      - natto toast (w/mayo, cheese, etc.)
      - abura-age (fried tofu)stuffed w/natto & grilled

      1 Reply
      1. re: naoko

        I realize this thread is way out of date but I'm having it tonight. I quite literally salivated while I prepared it. An agonizing 8 minutes.

        1 bunch of soba noodles cooked for 5 minutes and cooled.
        1 45g package of natto...I was shorted on the mustard
        Kim chee juice that spilled on the counter a little.
        Noodle base that contains shoyu, dashi, sugar and wine...comes in a bottle
        3T minced scallion

        I snacked on the kim chee while I waited for the water to boil.

        I'm becoming very satisfied. I love the stuff.

      2. I've never been able to handle natto, but my dad loves it. He'll pile the natto on a bowlful of hot rice, crack a raw egg into the bowl, and pour a LOT of shoyu into it and slurp away.

        1. Wow, I eat almost everything and have never been able to manage natto. But I'm willing to learn. Which of these preparations do you think would be best suited to converting a "natto virgin?"

          It's not the texture so much that I mind -- I'm from the South, so I eat slimy things like okra happily -- but the smell. So I guess masking the smell somewhat would be my first priority.

          - er

          3 Replies
          1. re: enrevanche

            Easy enough to get used to.

            Go to a sushi bar and order a few pieces of natto maki. Ask the chef for a spoonful of natto on the side so you can try it alone.

            Now don't dawdle the first time. Eat a piece of maki. Not bad, eh? Definitely does not live up to its stinky reputation. And rather neutral in taste, too. Rather beany.

            Next -- and quickly, take the spoonful of natto and eat it in a bite. Not bad, eh?

            Now you have a last piece of natto maki. Let it warm to room temp for, say five minutes, then eat. Still tasty, right? But, if you take a whiff of this warmer natto, you will get a sense of what the fear is all about.

            Do this twice and you will be good for natto anywhere. Now Japanese boys and girls will think of you as a true mensch.

            1. re: mirror

              Just a note about the smell. This is at a bleu cheese level. It is not a smell like limburger or even like pickled herring.

              There is a funky quality, like unwashed socks, but this is mild in most nattos. And covered well by all the damned shoyu and mustard and so on plastered on top. Plus, take a whiff of Doritos nacho cheese or the parmesan on your pizza. These are about equal to the punch in natto.

              So, again, your fear is about to be gone.

              1. re: mirror

                These are very sensible (and reassuring) instructions.

                Next time I'm at a good sushi bar, I'll do this very thing.


                - er

            2. n
              neba neba natto queen

              Mix with chopped up kimchi and serve with rice.

              Also, natto spaghetti - I prefer cappellini, a bit of dashi (or else it is too dry) and top with nori (the same used for sushi) and green onions!

              Also, did they mention grated radish? The combination of grated radish and natto is supposed to help you lose weight. Key point is that you grate the radish prior to eating.


              2 Replies
              1. re: neba neba natto queen

                I'm a huge fan of natto, myself, although at the same time I'm a little disgusted by it. Yes, my brain works strangely when it comes to food. Just thought I'd add my 2 or 3 cents to this conversation by saying that many of the health benefits of natto are supposedly minimized by cooking it. I eat my natto pretty much straight - with tamari and/or mustard and/or thinly sliced green onions, but never cooked. By the way, you can culture your own natto by ordering natto bacillus from the linked company below. My problem has been finding appropriately small soybeans. I've only been able to find larger soybeans here in New York.

                Link: http://www.gemcultures.com/

                1. re: BGrey

                  Oh, honey, of course I eat Natto straight up most of the time! And like most nutrients, Yes, cooking the ingredient would harm the nutrition value of the food. But remember, this sled is to offer different natto recipes for fun, and not necessarily be nutrient conscious.

                  Natto is especially great for women's health, but hey, just have fun with the sticky, stinky, yummy natto!

              2. I LOOOVE Natto!
                Whenever I go out to sushi, I order Natto Maki. Of course the sushi chefs aren't exactly thrilled when I order it, but I just can't resist.
                Anyhoo, one of my favorite ways to prepare Natto is to fry 'em up. First, stir it up really good, then add dashi-shoyu, Japanese mustard, and chopped green onions. Then, you drop a spoonful of natto on a 2" wide ribbon of cut up nori, wrap it up (but not cover the natto entirely), then deep-fry. Mmm...

                6 Replies
                1. re: shibugaki

                  Wow! I'll try that as soon as possible!
                  That's technique. That's how I want to consider natto.
                  Thank you very much!

                  1. re: shibugaki

                    Great suggestions so far. A great seasoning is a liitle toasted/dark sesame oil. I occasionally also like cumin and/or coriander.

                    I have found sushi chefs to be surprised when I order it. They seem surprised that this guy not only knows about but likes it. (One Japanese server got a huge smile when I asked.) It's my understanding that it's more common in Tokyo and north; at least that's what my favorite itamae told me. (Of course maybe they gripe about me after I leave!)

                    Most Japanese and some non-Japanese chefs have it even if it's not on the menu. (They'll eat it themselves and/or their customers ask for it.)

                    More uses:
                    With tempeh.
                    As mentioned above in abura-age, but also add some arame (a sea vegetable).
                    Or just eat with arame or hijiki. (The toasted sesame oil is great there.)
                    Add some shiso chiffonadededed. (I don't know when to stoppeded...)
                    Top on okonomiyaki.
                    With shitaki.

                    I want some now...

                    1. re: Richard 16

                      What is the appeal of ordering natto maki at sushi bars? I feel like it's not a very good value because it's easy enough to eat nori and natto at home and in all likelihood, the natto they're serving is the same prepackaged stuff you can buy yourself.

                      1. re: Humbucker

                        I like it with rice, on toast, and in wafu (Japanese-style) pasta or shiritaki noodles. I add some sansai and a few mushrooms or whatever I have in my fridge to the noodles and flavor it with the dashi soy that comes in the natto package. The mixture is then topped with the natto, bonito flakes and/or furikake.

                        1. re: Humbucker

                          The appeal for me is that it tastes good. I can make most of the stuff available at sushi bars -- except I don't have ready access to a wide variety of seafood -- at home. (I apprenticed with a Japanese chef.) But it takes time and I don't have the experience with sushi that a good chef has.

                          And I also eat it at home!

                          1. re: Humbucker

                            Natto maki, like most maki, are meant as inexpensive, end of the meal, stomach stuffers.

                      2. Have you ever tried natto wontons?

                        Mix natto with shoyu, green onions and yellow mustard. Wrap with a wonton wrapper and deep fry! Yummy! This is a pretty good natto dish for a first time natto eater! Even my friend from Osaka will eat natto it this way!

                        When making fresh mochi for New Year's, I make the mochi a little bit on the soft side. And I throw the mochi in a mix of natto, grated radish (daikon oroshi), shoyu and a little squeeze of sudachi (japanese citrus). My favorite!!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mitsumame

                          Natto wontons-Wow ,that sounds pretty interesting..I'd like to try it myself! Thanks for the recipes. I usually make it on a bed of hot rice and then spread a bit mayonnaise on rice. Then add nattos and add lots of chopped green onions and some grated daikon(or radish) all over with a little drizzle of Kikkoman soy sauce right on top--then I get some seasoned seaweed (that comes in 3 pack) and scoop some right in there to make small natto maki sushi!!! THANKS FOR YOUR RECIPES..WILL BE TRYING IT VERY SOON!

                        2. Thank you for this valuable information!!!

                          1. I always mix mine with kimchi and roll it into korean seaweed and then eat it.

                            1. I just had natto kimchi pizza in Tokyo last week. Better than I thought it would be.

                              1. if you like to more sticky stuff, mixing it with thin sliced okura is also good.
                                first you rub okura with salt and rinse it. then slice it like paper thin. add natto and soysauce and stir it very well. sprinkle some bonito flake and it is so sticky and good:)