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Any Natto Experts Out There? I Have Questions.

I've had natto at sushi bars and found it tasty enough. It is supposed to be very good for you.

Just read the amazing book "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan, who says that I am to eat no food my grandmother wouldn't recognize. Now my own grandmother certainly wouldn't have recognized natto, but I assume a Japanese grandmother would, so I'm guessing it's an okay traditional food.

But I go to the market and there are tubs of the stuff and I have no idea which one to buy. I think I've seen it in jars as well. (No, despite Michael Pollan's advice to grow and make your own food, I won't be fermenting my own natto - 10-hour workdays kind of cuts into your time for natto-making).

And once I figure out which one to buy, exactly how long will it keep in my fridge? And what exactly do I do with it other than dump it over some rice?

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  1. Well Natto. That's a one of my favorite.
    I usually enjoy dump it over some rice, but some time with Rica Cake.
    Bake Raice Cake, cut into half and insert Natto like sandwich.

    By the way, preparation technique of the Natto is first you should mix well.
    After well mixed, you add attached source or soy source with mustard (some people add Japanese Chili Oil called Rayu). Then mix once again and complete.
    This way, it will mix Natto and Sources very well and well balanced.

    Let's enjoy eating Natto!!

    1. I've seen natto in the freezer section of some places, so if you get a big tub, you may be able to store the extra that way and thaw what you need in the microwave.

      As the other poster said, it's commonly mixed with tamari and mustard (hot yellow mustard, not wasabi) and eaten on rice, but in Japan I usually saw it rolled up in rice and eaten like a "jelly roll" or stuffed inside an onigiri rice ball.

      1. I find there is not a great deal of difference between the different nattos you can buy frozen at the markets. Sometimes they offer different sized soy beans, and you can occasional find the pre-chopped variety that is used in sushi, but overall I find they all taste very similar. In Japan you can buy high quality natto that I think is actually fresh natto and comes wrapped in straw like in olden days, but I doubt you be able to find it outside Japan.

        I have not seen many other uses for natto other than being eaten with rice, either as a rice accompaniment at breakfast or in temaki or norimaki sushi (though strictly speaking it is not a traditional sushi filling -- I got scolded by a very sobre sushi chef once in Tokyo for asking for it!). As flccoffee said, the standard preparation for natto is to first mix it very well to "wake up" the natto (you will notice it becomes much stickier, which is what you want). Then season with soy / tare and karashi (mustard). It is usual to also add chopped scallions. The precise quantity depends on your taste but generally around one big tablespoon per natto packet. Some people add a raw egg too, which makes it even more slimy (not a fan of this version myself).

        I keep natto in my freezer and defrost overnight in the fridge as required. It will keep for ages in your freezer. I find it keeps pretty well in the fridge too once defrosted -- well over a week -- though you will find it starts to dry out if you keep it for too long.

        NOTE: Don't microwave it to defrost it. Natto is a fermented product containing natural bacteria in it whose activity causes the breakdown of the soy beans and creates that stickiness and characteristic natto flavour. If you microwave the natto will lose the stickiness and savour.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Tsar_Pushka

          Tsar, do you know if freezing natto has any detrimental effects on microbial activity? Because my yogurt maker manual said something about not using previously frozen yogurt as a starter because the microbes can't survive the freezing and heating process. Was wondering if freezing only would affect it as well.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Freezing natto is fine. The natto culture simply becomes dormant.

          2. re: Tsar_Pushka

            I can see where microwaving 'immature' natto could inhibit the formation of stickiness and flavor, but microwaving it right before serving shouldn't do that. The stickiness and flavor are already there. Using just enough microwave time to defrost frozen natto does not destroy these characteristics.

            In US Asian groceries I've only seen natto in single serving frozen containers.


            1. re: paulj

              it's not the stickiness and the flavour that are the main reasons for not wanting to microwave natto to defrost - it's that you'll be killing the beneficial bacteria (which give it the flavour) but are also beneficial to your intestinal flora and fauna. :-)

              1. re: mikikiandguest

                "Natto bacteria spores are very resistant to heat. It takes one hour at 140°C (284°F) to kill all the natto bacteria"

            2. re: Tsar_Pushka

              When you mix natto around it gets much more gooey and webby. I wonder if this is releasing or enabling more of the beneficial nutrients in Natto?? or not?

              1. re: easybullet3

                Well the Natto bacillus is a thread-forming aerobic bacteria, so I've always interpreted stirring with activating the culture. I've also heard that the Natto bacillus makes the proteins in soybeans particularly bio-available.

                BTW in regards to stirring up the Natto, here are a couple of tips: use a textured bowl. This significantly increases the quality of, and speeds up the generation of, the threads.

                Also whenever I "whip up" a batch of Natto, I give it on the order of at least 50 stirs, much much more than I've seen most others do. What you'll find is that the threads become a lot stronger and more opaque; you'll actually feel the build up of a considerable amount of resistance!

                Regardless of whether or not all of this makes it any healthier, it certainly makes it tastier!

            3. omotosando: I find there is a significant difference between brands, not only because of the different approaches to seasoning in the various packs, as well as black bean, small or large bean, and of course cut bean variations, but also just pure and simple taste variations in the beans themselves.

              There's a brand out there that I always look for that I enjoy the most. I can't recall the name, I'll ammend my post when I find out, but the print (in Japanese) on the packaging talks about the strength of the nattokinase of this particular product. (The nattokinase is the active ingredient in natto that gives it its anti-coagulant properties.) I vaguely recall a graphic of a "grandmotherly" person on the packaging, but I don't believe it was the "obaachama" brand.

              True to its packaging claims it really does form a particularly strong, viscous "thread" when compared to the other brands.

              Regarding freezing, natto does freeze well, but it easily dries out given the insufficient protection in the typical packaging. If you plan on freezing it, I would limit the length of time its in there, or seal it with a vacuum sealer.

              Regarding thawing by microwave, it's probably a bit "brutal": on the buggers (the bacillus, that is), but I do believe they're still OK. I say that as the "neba neba" quality of the natto is due to the strands that form when activated, and these strands are created by the bacterial colonies themselves. So my interpretation is that the mere presence of the strands indicates the presence of live natto bacillus.

              I find though that natto does perfectly fine for extended periods of time in the refrigerator. After all, it is a product of fermentation. I've left natto in the refrigerator for months to no ill-effect. It essentially continues to ferment, but much, much slower than when placed outside.

              ...which leads me to a tip. If you really like very "neba neba" natto, a good trick is to leave the natto out on the kitchen counter the night or morning before you plan on eating it. Pry open the styrofoam clamshell and perforate the plastic sheeting with a fork - the natto bacillus is aerobic, so it needs air for it to thrive. If deprived of oxygen it can develop an ammonia-like smell from the anaerobic activity... When you come home you'll have a very active, very "neba neba" natto. Just waken it up with a really aggressive stir.

              Another tip for a real "neba neba" natto is to hold back on the shoyu (soy sauce). The salt in the shoyu has a deliterious effect on the culture, so you will get stronger natto strands if you suppress it a bit.

              ...and for true natto die-hards - there's a product out there called "neba-bou", for neba stick, (it's hard to translate neba, it's just one of those peculiar Japanese words that defies easy translation, but refers to the slimy quality of natto or okra), that is a short and wide plastic stick with ridges and bumps on its surface. It's used for stirring up the natto. I picked it up since it was only a buck or so at Marukai, thinking that it'll be neat to just try. Well it really does work, and works well! In no time at all it quickly creates a very thick, slimy, almost opaque and white mass of natto "strings", not unlike that of a silk caccoon.

              Hope this helps!

              BTW I think natto is best w/rice, sometimes with a raw egg stirred-in, but a nice variation is to top thin matchsticks of yamaimo with natto, thinly-sliced okra, and a pinch of katsuo-boshi (shaved dried bonito). Uzura (quail egg) will go fine with this as well.

              7 Replies
              1. re: cgfan

                A very informative post, thank you!

                1. re: cgfan

                  I found a picture of the natto I prefer, which is produced by the brand Okame Natto, mentioned in flccoffee's post below.

                  Make sure you get their product named "Ito no Chikara", one of several products they make in their natto line. "Ito no Chikara" translates to "Strength of the Threads", which is in reference to the "threads" formed when one stirs up the natto.

                  ...and indeed it is noticeably stronger in this particular product when compared to the others!

                  Unfortunately for non-Japanese speakers it's written only in Japanese. But look for the 3 bold characters that you see in the attached image, and you can't go wrong...

                  1. re: cgfan

                    Wow cgfan. I also like Ito no Chikara which we can find it in Mitsuwa, Marukai or Nijiya Supermarkt in CA.
                    It is sometimes very difficult to decide whether choosing Ito no Chikara or Original Okame Natto since they have different firmness and taste.
                    Both of them are very good. I recommend you both. : )

                    1. re: flccoffee

                      Unfortunately they seemed to have discontinued importing Ito no Chikara Natto into the U.S. I even asked the head buyer at the San Diego Nijiya about it. If anyone ever comes across it in the U.S., please post here!

                  2. re: cgfan

                    Great tips! I tried natto last week for the first time, and I really liked it. I made a batch using some commercial natto as the starter. It was incubated 24 hours at 40C, then aged in the sandwich bags in the fridge for 3 days. It smells the same as the commercial natto and is stringy, but I'd like it stringier. I'm going to try the special stirring stick and leaving some out overnight. Any more tips for more stringiness?

                    1. re: fchow8888

                      I think you've got all the right ideas...

                      Go easy on the soy as the salt sets back the bacteria, or perhaps use a lower sodium soy, and when you leave it out overnight cover it with plastic wrap to keep it from drying but poke holes with a fork to keep it aerobic. (You'll get a strong ammoniac smell when it goes anaerobic, but often times there always seems to be a trace of that...)

                      Re. the special stirring stick any stick with tiny bumps on it would probably work just as well, but you can get similar results with just plain chopsticks if you stir vigorously and long enough.

                      Other than that to really get the stringiness you need to get an idea on just how many times you need to stir. You really need to stir briskly until the threads are dense enough and strong enough to offer noticeable resistance and makes the whole batch look like it was covered in a dense spider's silk.

                      We're talking at least 25 vigorous stirs, but I'd recommend stirring to around twice that amount, around 50 stirs. When you hit the right point you'll find that you're no longer moving just the beans surrounding the stick, but rather the whole batch will all tend to move en-masse due to the strength of the strings, wich is about as much as you're likely to develop the "Neba Neba" qualities.

                      What I've found also helps tremendously, and it's the same idea with using the Natto-bou, is to use a glazed but textured bowl. They're easily found in Japanese ceramics shops. The glaze is for ease of cleaning, but it's the texture that really speeds up the development of the "Neba Neba" texture.

                      BTW one of my favorite additions to Natto, and this will naturally help boost the texture, is to make very slim slices of Okra and add it to the Natto. It looks great together and is a natural complement to the Natto.

                      1. re: cgfan

                        Thanks for the information. I've been doing some experimenting and reading and have already gotten much stringier natto by culturing it on adzuki beans. I also used the heat shock method of reactivating the culture. When I make my next batch there are a couple of other things I'm going to try. First, natto likes biotin (available from brewer's yeast). That should be easy (and yeast won't survive the heat shock). Natto also likes glutamic acid and maltose. Barley should provide both and indeed there is a barley natto that is supposed to be very stringy. I'm going to cook some barley and add it to the natto mix. Not too much, perhaps just 20% or so by dry weight.

                  3. Old days, Natto was wrapped by straws for fermentation and sold with straw wrap for keeping Natto Good Condition.

                    Now a days, they are selling with plastic container. Only sometimes we can find traditional package with straw wrap.

                    I usually eat OKAME Natto. You can find Orange-Red Package with Okame (flat-faced woman mask). OKAME Natto is well know brand in Japan and they also produce Natto in Chicago.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: flccoffee

                      I know this is an old thread but, this is the brand my Japanese wife and kids prefer.
                      Im not a huge fan, but I have enjoyed it mixed with tororo, negi, and hot mustard served as breakfast in a minshuku. She freezes he individual portions no problem-defrost in the fridge overnight.

                    2. Lots of good info on this thread already. I just have a couple of alternative serving suggestions. First, I like to add a little more to my natto than just the packaged mustard and sauce, so I usually shred up some umeboshi, or shiso leaves if I have it handy, and of course sliced green onion (lots of it). I also throw kizami nori (cut up nori) on top. I don't eat it very often with rice anymore. I will put it on top of hiyayakko (cold tofu). A little grated ginger on the side to go along with the hiyayakko gives it a little umph as well. I also like to add mekabu (a kind of seaweed, packed in single serving tubs) along with the hiyayakko. I had this at a restaurant somewhere it was a great combination. But I think my favorite way of eating natto is to make ika-natto. That's ika sashimi mixed into the natto. You can find sliced up ika sashimi in the refrigerated section of most Japanese markets (or in the freezer section). Just mix and enjoy.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: E Eto

                        Natto Mix with Umeboshi, Kizami Nori and Shiso (Oba) make taste in harmony and well balanced!! Also Natto Mix with Ika sashimi will be IkaNatto. It goes well with Japanese Sake. Egg mix with Natto and make over rice will be super!!
                        Chopped Okura mix with Natto will more stickiness and eat as over rice. That's good combination!! Does anyone try?

                        1. re: E Eto

                          The natto I like is the one (actually a 3-cup pack) that comes w/the shiso flavoured packet.

                          1. re: OCAnn

                            Do you know which brand that would be, or what it looks like?

                            1. re: cinnamonshops

                              The brand appears to read KAJINOYA and the outer wrapper is yellow & orange on top, clear on the sides. Inside, there are three small white cups (not boxes) with Japanese writing on the outside.

                              If you can read hiragana, on the outside, it says SHISO NORI, but even then, it's hard for me to spot it among all the other natto in the refrigerated section.

                        2. i like it mixed with negi, mustard, shoyu, quail egg yolk, and eaten on top of hot rice with squares of korean seaweed. I also like it mixed with chopped kimchi and bacon (sooooooooo good).

                          Koreans always make their own version of natto called "cheonggukjang" which is natto with spicy chili flakes added to it. We make a really good stew out of it and it tastes awesome with some pork added to it. I heard that some japanese stir natto into their miso soup as well and it's basically the same concept that the koreans do.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: bitsubeats

                            I am huge natto fan, since I grew up with it. I like to eat with Aonori which is powder seaweed. I agree with flccoffee. I love with chopped okura too

                            I eat natto toast for breakfast. Sounds weird, but taste great! Just spread natto on a slice of bread, sprinkle fresh parmesan cheese, and put some mayo. Then toast it.

                            I think the good brand totally depends on your preference. I like authentic medium size well-fermented beans. But some likes small or chopped one called hikiwari.

                            If you try less smelly one, try "Niowanatto". It has light smell.

                            1. re: mayuchico

                              My wife eats natto every single morning on rice and our apartment fills with the "wonderful" smell. Wow! くせい~~~! ...But I'm getting used to it I guess... Her family eats it with sliced negi onion, a raw egg, on top of rice, with a bit of shoyu. One thing I can tell everyone who dislikes natto, but likes alcohol, is this simple fact: There is nothing in the world more difficult to endure than being hungover and stuck in a room surrounded by people eating natto. I'm lucky I survived.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                That's a nice way to start the day...

                                If I could I'd start every morning with natto & rice, grilled fish, otsukemono (Japanese pickles), and misoshiru. I used to do that until I ran out of time in the mornings. But your post makes me think that even when pinched for time, by setting the rice cooker the night before to go on in the morning, I could at least enjoy the rice and the natto part!

                                In my opinion there's nothing quite like a Japanese breakfast to start the day off right!

                                1. re: Silverjay

                                  The first time I tried natto I liked it, loved it actually and I look forward to eating it every day. I guess people either love it or hate it. :-)

                                  But is it possible to eat too much natto? It's supposed to give you vitamin K2 and also thin the blood. Perhaps too much would not be a good thing?

                            2. Good ideas so far. An additional seasoning I like is a *little* toasted sesame oil.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Richard 16

                                Natto mixed in a cold soba noodle salad with the toasted sesame oil, touch of shoyu, chiffonade of shiso, finely chopped green onion, and vinegar to taste. Next time I may add the mustard.

                                If I have them I top with toasted sesame seeds. Something I've never done but sounds interesting is to top with a teeny amount of very finely chopped garlic or garlic chives.

                              2. Okame brand also makes kuromame natto (black beans) and this is the type that I like.

                                1. Fun uses for natto here:


                                  It's as easy to make as homemade yogurt.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    Hi FoodFuser. Interesting link, particularly about natto for dogs. I just gave some to my dog and he was mighty pleased. Couldn't stop licking my hand - one way to get rid of the stickiness!

                                  2. I stopped by my local Nijiya market yesterday and was happy to find premade brown rice sushi with natto and shiso. A great quick meal.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      I bought frozen natto today on accident. I've never used it before. I don't have a microwave - should I just leave it out on the counter until it thaws? Can I heat it in the toaster oven?

                                      1. re: dinogermz

                                        Absolutely - you can leave it out overnight. Or you can let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

                                        Leaving it out on the counter is a good way of getting the natto to be really active and "neba neba", or mucilagenous. Open the outer styrofoam "shell" and with a fork poke several holes in the sheet of plastic that's used to protect the natto from drying. This will allow air to reach the natto. You can then lightly close the styrofoam clamshell and leave it out on the counter overnight.

                                        When you are ready to eat the natto stir it up briskly to the point where the threads not only just begin to form, but beyond to the point where the threads turn into an almost opaque white. You will actually feel the difference as it begins to more strongly resist your attempts to stir it. I've accidentally discovered that stirring it in an unglazed, textured ceramic bowl does wonders to help activate the threads.

                                        I like to eat it with green onions on top of hot rice, often with either a raw quail or chicken egg mixed in, depending on the amount of moisture desired. I'll often also mix in a pinch of Hondashi for added flavor.

                                    2. As other posters have mentioned, the bean sizes, cuts, and sauce flavorings can differ. I suppose it's a matter of taste. Natto is fairly cheap, so I suppose it can't hurt to experiment :) I usually try a little of whatever is on sale...

                                      I've had good experiences with the Okame brand, as well.

                                      There is an Ohyama three pack in a pink container that says "josei ni good" (女性にgood) http://www.ohyamatofu.co.jp/natto/pro.... My roommate and I both like this one a lot.

                                      I would stay away from the Shirakiku 4-pack that is covered in red plastic.
                                      I've found that the beans are bitter, and the packs don't include tare (sauce). Though I suppose you could buy/make tare separately...

                                      That reminds me...I think that the ammonia content differs between brands, and more ammonia can be the cause of, ah, more fragrant urine the next day. So that's another thing to watch out for. In this respect, the Ohyama natto is quite...inoffensive. Okame is a little bit worse, but not too bad.

                                      I also enjoy natto with okra or toro (grated yamaimo/nagaimo/mountain yam). Yamaimo is the long white potato that they keep in sawdust at the store. This makes it extra sticky.

                                      I also enjoy shiso or aonori (powdery, salty seaweed) mixed into the tare sauce. You can sometimes buy natto that contains a small pack of these additives, but it's probably cheaper to buy it separately. Plus, the fresh shiso would taste very good!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kotamago

                                        I bought an Okame three pack the other day
                                        I used up one unit to make natto.
                                        To seed the natto

                                        I also have some natto spores and used them
                                        This was overkill but only done so because my last natto making effort failed

                                        Steam fresh bought soybeans (not old ones that sat around)
                                        I soak them then steam them under pressure
                                        Let cool to 120F or so
                                        Inoculate with one package Okame
                                        Add teaspoon of soy cooking liquid to moisten
                                        GENTLY Stir and fold in the mix carefully with a flat spatula....
                                        Taking great care not to break beans

                                        I cooked two 14oz pkg soybeans
                                        This was enough to fill 6 Chinese takeout cartons (old style ones)
                                        Fill with a half inch or one inch to spare
                                        Place in heavy brown paper grocery sack
                                        Close up bag as best you can
                                        As natto ferments in makes some heat
                                        The reason Chinese takeout cartons and brown paper bag are used is to keep heat in but too allow some air circulation and moisture release. Don't make natto is a 100% sealed container

                                        Place brown paper sack in oven with 10-25 watt light bulb
                                        Keep at 98-104 degrees
                                        24 to 36 hours

                                        Can be frozen

                                        Buy an Okame three pack
                                        Don't throw out the little styrofoam containers
                                        Instead fill them with natto you make
                                        Keep frozen and you can use these little packs to seed your future batches

                                        If you have no spores (Gem Cultures has them) then figure for inoculation one little Okame pack per 14oz bag soybeans cooked up

                                        1. re: kotamago

                                          It has been my experience that the ammonia content in Natto is due to excessive anaerobic fermentation, something that a good airing and a vigorous stir should take care of. Not sure how this would vary by brand, other than packaging that prevents sufficient breathing. I'd suspect that it might have more to do with differences in storage and transport, both in the store and at home.

                                        2. What a fun (and informative) thread! I grew up eating natto-gohan (natto and rice), mostly for breakfast. Just my 2c, I've also enjoyed it on top of hot mochi rolled up in a nori sheet, like a variation of the natto-maki roll, yum yum.

                                          1. Like most people, I love to have natto with rice and raw egg, with a little nori, but I totally second Eto san's suggestion to serve natto with cold tofu. So good! Also, you can serve natto with cold soba, very refreshing in the summer.

                                            I wish I can show you a page that I cut out from a Japanese magazine with "20 variations of Natto"! Most of them are small dishes, like oroshitororo+ nori + natto or avocado + raw egg + flavored nori + natto!

                                            1. i love natto. hated it as a child but now i grew to love it. i always prepare mine by dumping it into a bowl then mixing it up really well with mustard and shoyu. Then, I squeeze a some lemon on it then top it off with negi and nori. i always eat it on top of a hot bowl of rice.

                                              1. I had natto uni sushi at a friend's restaurant not so long ago. It was an eye-opening combination.

                                                1. I am going to mix some natto, tororoimo, and molokhia and see what sort of reaction I get from myself. I love all separately but I wonder if too much mucilaginous goodness is... too much.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: amokscience

                                                    Well Natto and Yamaimo is a classic combination, though I'm not familiar with Molokhia.

                                                    Actually a very nice combination is Natto with Yamaimo cut into thin batons so as to create an initial crunch in the Yamaimo. Of course as soon as you bite into and crush the Yamaimo, it will turn mucilaginous, but the initial "Jicama-like" crunch in the Yamaimo makes it a worthy alternate prep.

                                                    I often like to add very thinly-sliced Okra to my Tororo. It provides a very nice visual and color contrast as well as provide a good match to the grated Yamaimo's "slippery" texture...

                                                    All of the above are often paired with small cubes of Maguro and topped with shreds of Nori, Wasabi, and soy sauce, in which case it is known as a Yamakake. (Other variations can add or substitute shaved Katsuobushi or Kaiware...)

                                                    1. re: cgfan

                                                      Alright +okra forgot about that one. Also tororo konbu. I've had most of what you've had growing up but mixing all of them together hadn't occurred to me until now.

                                                      1. re: amokscience

                                                        Where can I buy natto bacteria starter online to make my own cimchi?

                                                        1. re: jago25_98

                                                          You can buy natto starter here http://www.naturalimport.com/inc/sear... or you can use already made natto to make your starter, but I've never used it to make kimchi.

                                                          1. re: jago25_98

                                                            I've never heard of using Natto bacillus to make Kimchi... Though I've never made it before, I believe all of the culture needed to make Kimchi comes from naturally occurring organisms already present in the ingredients...

                                                            If you're still interested in obtaining the Natto culture, contact G.E.M. Cultures - http://www.gemcultures.com/

                                                            FYI, the traditional way of making Natto is to place steamed soybeans in a pouch of rice straw. The Natto bacillus is naturally present in the rice straw. But BigSal is right; one can also use an already made Natto, though typically the culture may not be as strong so it will likely take longer to produce...

                                                    2. I puree the natto to a paste, then add in either some sesame seed oil and/or light miso. I like it with rice crackers. I'll sometimes use the mustard packet that comes with it, but not the soy sauce based packet. If you read the ingredients, some of them have MSG and high fructose corn syrup in them.

                                                      1. I've seen Japanese cooking shows where they incorporate natto in omelets. Mix stirred natto with cheese - just about any cheese. Cottage cheese, feta cheese, shredded cheese,etc. and a little bit of shallot, onion or green onion. Either mix in with egg or lay in omelet and fold over and serve.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                          I used to spread natto on bread, cover with grated cheese, then grill in the toaster oven. Natto is also great on spaghetti.

                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                            I like the toast idea. How do you prepare natto with the spaghetti - sounds interesting...

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                              For natto spaghetti, I like to mix the natto with a raw egg and seasonings like soy sauce, minced green onion, etc. Then mix it rapidly with hot, lightly oiled pasta. The heat cooks the egg somewhat, leaving the whole thing quite creamy when mixed with the "threads" of the natto.

                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                Sounds delicious. I will give it a try. My family loves natto so I will surprise them one night! Thanks for the tip.

                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  I loosely followed your rec and the whole family enjoyed it to varying degrees. I think I was too conservative on the shoyu (my dad is "selectively" salt-averse due to hypertension issues). My kids normally hate nira, but didn't pick them out in the pasta - progress! Instead of raw egg (don't trust the market eggs here in the US), I used some Kewpie. We occasionally get fresh eggs from a friend - when we do, I will try the recipe in its truer form. Thanks for the tip!

                                                        2. I have it mixed with peanut butter and a bit of worstershire sauce.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: fchow8888

                                                            Kinda reminds me of Aussies and Vegemite w/ peanut butter on toast, but chunky.

                                                          2. Just made natto yesterday-today. Soaked 16 oz soy beans 24 hours. Steamed under low pressure one hour. To seed it and provide natto bacteria I Used one little package of KUBOTA natto from Rhee Brothers. Comes in a three pack in the freezer section of Japanese or Korean store. About $3

                                                            Cooked soybeans allowed to cool a bit. Then added back one tablespoon steaming water to moisten + the KUBOTA natto which was stirred thoroughly in with spatula. Vessel was a Pyrex baking dish with soybeans about half inch thick. Covered w aluminum foil I punched a few holes into. Then put in large heavy duty paper grocery sack from Whole Foods

                                                            Oven with 15 watt light bulb for 24 hours @ 98-108 degrees it was ready. Is still in oven for another 12 hours as an experiment

                                                            1. I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, or if anyone else has done this (I imagine someone in the world has) but sometimes I eat natto with oatmeal. Oats are generally healthier than rice, and oats provide more fiber than white or brown rice, if I remember correctly.

                                                              I am half Japanese, and my fully Japanese mother is the one who taught me this. Don't know where she got the idea from. Anyway, it is quite delicious and makes for a very healthy, simple breakfast.

                                                              I'm sure you could go and add the other common additions for natto and rice into the oatmeal, but the only thing I add is extra tsuyu (since I love that flavor, and the little packet included in the commercial natto container is never enough for me, or my mom).

                                                              It is slightly slimier than just natto and rice, since the oatmeal is a bit wetter than rice, but if you're eating natto in the first place I doubt you would mind. It is really quite good! And a good, quick substitute if I don't have any rice prepared, or if I'm looking for something a bit more filling.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                                                this sounds great. I'm so doing this tomorrow.

                                                              2. i hate the stuff, but it was super popular where i lived. i had a friend who would mix it up with a raw egg and some mayo and eat it over rice for breakfast.

                                                                it was also popular in a maki-sushi form, or as a gunkan-maki (especially with squid). one place i knew also did an uzura-natto gunkan.

                                                                served as a donburi with maguro tuna or negitoro tuna was also popular.

                                                                i knew one girl who liked it on english muffins with butter.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: chartreauxx

                                                                  oh i also had one friend who liked to use it with corn chips/nachos, but we all thought he was weird

                                                                2. I tried natto for the first time this year, and absolutely loved it. It is one of my favorite foods, and I now eat it everyday. I always stir it to a really good sticky consistency, and then put it on either rice or pasta, but lately I have just been eating it plain without the pasta or rice. Not only is natto delicious, but there are so many health benefits. Win-Win :)

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jessican3267

                                                                    < I now eat it everyday>

                                                                    That can get expensive. :)

                                                                    <I have just been eating it plain without the pasta or rice>

                                                                    Me too. I often just eat it as breakfast.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      You can make it easily. You probably need a pressure cooker, and a picnic cooler. And some commercial natto as a starter, and some soybeans . . .

                                                                      You can make it and freeze it.

                                                                      I was eating it every day when I discovered it too. But after a while (a year) I got tired of it and don't eat it often now.

                                                                      I mainly had it with mustard and peanut butter.

                                                                      The last batch I made I let incubate too long, and it developed an ammonia taste. Maybe that's why I've gone off it.

                                                                      1. re: fchow8888

                                                                        I just buy the simple minimal natto. Just natto with mustand. I don't usually buy the ones with special sauce which can easily cost twice as much.