November 21, 2008

Natto (Fermented Soy Beans)/納豆

Much has been said about natto (fermented soy beans) by non-Japanese people. Some say that it's stinky and slimy and they don't like it. But the fact is that natto is just another food at least to those Japanese who live in the Kanto (Eastern Japan) area. It's true that there are some natto haters in the Kansai (Western Japan) and other areas.
I usually have natto for breakfast, two packs of natto to be exact, that is, 90 g of it.
私は普通、朝食に納豆を食べます。正確に言うと2パック、つまり、90 gです。
Some people have natto because of its health benefits, but as for me, I have it simply because I like it.


Nancy Heller said...

How did you prepare these? Looks good to me!

Kake said...

I like natto too, and I'm not Japanese. I don't think it's any weirder than e.g. blue cheese!

Here's a photo of some tuna with natto I had earlier this year: on Flickr. I wasn't entirely sure how to eat it — I wasn't sure if the little wooden spoon was for mixing the spring onions and wasabi into the natto, or for eating the natto, or for something else entirely! It was a tasty dish, though.

Hiroyuki said...

Nancy Heller: Just mix everthing together: natto, sauce and mustard (which come with the natto), and boiled daikon stems and leaves. Natto is an acquired taste for non-Japanese, and most Japanese acquire its taste at the age of one (laugh).
Kake: Thanks for the link. I looked at the photo and others. I don't think there is an authentic way to eat that particular dish. Personally, I would eat the natto with the spring onions and the tuna with the wasabi, but I think there are people who want to mix them all together.
From what I can tell from that photo, the natto is not regular, whole bean natto, but "hikiwari" natto (crushed into small pieces) and is already seasoned (mixed) with sauce.
I'm not sure but the tuna looks already seasoned with soy sauce or something similar. (Was it zuke?)
I think you had the dish as an appetizer for sake, but personally, I would want to have it with hot rice. In Japan, there are things called natto maguro (= tuna) don (donburi, bowl).
Here are results of a Google search for "natto maguro" in Japanese.

Hiroyuki said...

The link does not work.
OK, here it is:

Kake said...

Yes, that's right, the beans were broken up. I think that's the only kind I've had so far in London. I can't actually remember whether they were already mixed with seasonings! But I'm fairly sure that the tuna wasn't marinaded; it does look in the photo like it's glistening, but I think that's just the fish itself.

It would have been good with a bowl of rice, yes! I just had agedashi tofu and the tuna natto and a couple of maki though (and, yes, sake!)

Thanks for the search link — some good-looking stuff in there. Interesting to see the raw egg in some of them, a bit like steak tartare.