August 26, 2011

Natto/納豆

Natto is cheap yet very healthy, and is a great source of protein. When eaten together, rice and soybeans provide all the essential amino acids that the human body needs. I usually have two packs (45 g x 2 = 90 g) of natto every morning, together with rice, miso soup, and other okazu (side dishes).
納豆は安い割にはとても健康に良く、また素晴らしいタンパク源です。ご飯と大豆を一緒に食べれば、人間が必要な必須アミノ酸をすべて摂ることができます。私は普段、毎朝、納豆を2パック(45 g x 2 = 90 g)をご飯、味噌汁、その他のおかずと一緒に食べています。

Here are some examples of natto:
納豆の一例です。
The one in the center has this unique design:
真ん中のは、変わったデザインです。
The lid has a large dent, where small packets of sauce and mustard are placed, and the lid is covered with a sheet.
蓋には大きな窪みがあって、そこにタレと芥子(からし)の小袋が入っています。蓋にはシートが付いています。

I like the one on the right the best, because it's the cheapest where I live, and the package design is normal.
右側のが一番好きです。私が住んでいる所では一番安く、パッケージのデザインも普通だからです。
As you can see, I like to mix natto with chopped naga negi.
見て分かるように、私は納豆を刻んだ長ねぎと混ぜるのが好きです。

Here are two other examples:
別の二種類:
The one on the right has also a unique design. It does not have a sheet inside. The sauce is also unique; it's set with gelatinizing agent.
右側のも変わったデザインです。シートな中にありません。タレも変わっていて、ゲル化剤で固まっています。

I personally hate this particular natto, because it does not come with mustard, and it takes time to completely mix the sauce with natto.
私自身はこの納豆は嫌いです。芥子は付いてないし、タレを納豆を混ぜるのに時間がかかるためです。
Here is another example, made by a local manufacturer.
次のは、地元のメーカーの納豆です。
Most natto sold today are made from small and very small soybeans, but this particular natto is made from large ones, and is also large in pack size (containing 85 g natto).
今日売られている納豆の大半は小粒(こつぶ)大豆や極小粒(ごくこつぶ)大豆で作られていますが、この納豆は大きな大豆でできていて、パックのサイズも大きいです(納豆が85 g入っている)。

Another example from the same manufacturer:
同じメーカー製の、別の例:
This product is small in size; each cup contains only 30 g natto. It is made from very small soybeans.
この製品は小さいサイズで、1カップ当たり30 gしか入ってません。極小粒大豆からできています。

I did a little experiment: I put two packs of natto in the freeze for a whole day, thawed them completely, and had them.
ちょっと実験をしました: 納豆を2パック、冷凍庫に丸一日入れ、完全に解凍してから、食べました。
No noticeable difference in flavor, but the texture became soft.
味は殆ど変わりませんが、食感は柔らかくなりました。

And, finally, here is one example of hikiwari natto:
最後に、引き割り納豆の例です。
The soybeans are roasted and crushed before being fermented. I used to buy this type of natto when my children were smaller. It's also popular for use in natto maki. Besides, the people in the Tohoku district like this type.
大豆を煎って、潰してから、発酵させます。子供たちが小さい頃はこのタイプの納豆をよく買っていました。納豆巻きにもよく使われます。また、東北地方の人たちがこのタイプを好きです。

9 comments:

Sissi said...

A fascinating and informative post. I have a strange relationship with natto. I think I have already told you about it. I bought it only once (there is only one brand -no name - in my shop) and haven't mixed with anything. I thought the aroma was promising (reminding me of French smelly cheese), but I found the taste disappointingly bland.
Reading your post I have just decided I will buy it once more and mix with mustard, soy sauce and chopped leek. Then I will make my second opinion.
I must admit I love the sliminess and it makes me laugh people find it disgusting ;-)

Fräulein Trude said...

I learned Natto smells like Harzer Cheese and it tastes nearly the same (some call Harzer disgusting rotten lowfat milk, but it is pure protein and healthy). So it is something I would fancy. Sadly natto is so special there is no way to buy it - wether online nor in shops around here. We may think global but have to stick local. You cannot buy Harzer in japan and so it is fair enough (laugh). Natto is on my "must try list" for the big japan journey next year.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: This morning, I mixed two packs of natto with lots of boiled and chopped okra.

You are exceptinal, right? I know a lot of people hate natto because of its slimy texture.

The little experiment I did was meant for you. I have confirmed that freezing does not affect the flavor but affects the texture.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: I found this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxytOGUPo_4

I've never heard of Harzer cheese!

Japan next year?! You must have a long, long list of things you want to try!!

Fräulein Trude said...

Hiroyuki: This video was great. So Harzer cheese is おいし. But she should get rid of all the tin in her face.
Yes, I have a huge list of to dos in japan. First of all I would like to speak more japanese so talking about food may help (laugh).

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, thank you for remembering my experience with frozen natto. I'm impressed by your memory!
I find the texture funny and remember one episode of Shinya Shokudo with the couple who loved natto. It was really funny, but I suppose disgusting for many Europeans.
I don't know if I'm exceptional, but it takes much more than sliminess or strong smell to put me off a food product! I always say food is the only field where I'm adventurous in my life!

Sissi said...

Kiki, Harzer cheese looks like the only smelly cheese which is low-fat and low-calorie at the same time! (It is advised on many diet websites). I suppose it might be found in the German-speaking Switzerland... I must have a look next time I travel there.

muskrat said...

I enjoy natto very much! Apparently, my grandmother (who was from Sapporo) used to eat natto, but my mother hates it! I like to mix my natto with a raw egg, then eat it on top of rice. I have 3 packs of natto in the fridge, it's the first time I've frozen it, but after reading your post I know what to expect now.

Hiroyuki said...

muskrat: As I mentioned somewhere, my sister's husband is from Osaka, and hated natto before they got married. Now he likes it!