Natto (納豆) is a Japanese fermented soybean dish typically eaten for breakfast. Thesedays Natto is considered as a “superfood” – foods which provide multiple vitamins, healthy bacteria cultures which aid digestion, foods containing anti-inflammatory properties and/or overall have a positive impact on our bodies’ condition, functionality and energy levels. Other superfoods which you might be familiar with are antioxidants as such as green tea and blueberries, probiotics like Kefir and Cholesterol regulating pulses including Chia seeds.
Despite the fairly new introduction of Natto to outside of Asia, Natto is believed to originate back to the year 1051; which seemingly was an unintentional discovery by a Japanese man riding his horse somewhere in North-East Japan. After foraging the soybeans he placed them into a sack of some sort, which was attached to his horse. The heat radiating from the horse’s body in addition to the sunlight resulted in the soybean’s fermentation. It wasn’t until the 1900’s when scientists discovered Natto’s nutritional qualities*
Commonly, Natto is prepared with a small amount of soy sauce and Karashi mustard, served on steamed white rice with ringlets of green onion as a garnish. Natto is an aquired taste mainly due to is not so plesant; yet not unbearable scent, and sticky/stringy texture. In terms of flavour it doesn’t have a invigorating taste nor does it taste alike anything similar to it.
From personal experience, I really couldn’t stomach Natto without the rice; plus plain rice didn’t majorly help the Natto to appeal to my palate or improve my ability to consume it. With some guidance I discovered that combining a few extra ingredients which are untraditional in regards to how Japanese people intended Natto to be eaten, truly enabled me to tolerant Natto aside from it’s nutritional values.
Preparing a simple egg fried rice i.e with some diced white onion, 1 medium free-range egg, a steamed white rice, with pepper and salt for seasoning makes all the difference. The Natto, which should already be mixed with the soy sauce and Karashi mustard (these are usually provided in sachets per pot of one portion Natto), can be laid on top of the bowled/plated egg fried rice. Garnish with green onions as stated earlier. For extra flavour I added Korean Kimchi (Kimchi is also a fermented superfood), but that’s down to individual preference.
If eaten on a regular basis, particularly each morning, Natto can reduce stomach bloating caused by sodium and gluten intake. Some say that it prevents constipation and those with intolerance to dairy had improved digestion or at least experienced less painful or frequent stomach aches thanking to Natto’s Probiotics.
Whether you be a Vegetarian, Vegan or not it’s common knowledge that products made from soybeans, including tofu, are rich in protein. Therefore if you are seeking foods to add to your diet in replacement of meat or more common foods which have a high protein content, then you may want to consider giving Natto a try. From my standpoint I enjoy having Natto from Breakfast as I much prefer savory foods than typical sugary cereals or toast, and on the plus side it means I can intake many nutrients within one convenient meal.
💬 Have you tried Natto, or do you think it’s something you could give the taste test?
* Source: SoyInfo Center
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