NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (2024)

This natto recipe is for you if you’re someone who doesn’t like natto (yet!). You're gonna be one of us diehard natto lovers in no time at all.

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NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (1)

JAPAN'S #1 (STINKY) SUPERFOOD

I’m sure you already know that eating natto is really good for you.

That’s not the problem. You’re just not sure how you’ll ever be able to get past the smell and sticky texture, right?

With this natto recipe, I learned to actually like it. It only took me about a week to acquire the taste. It’s possible for you to love eating natto too, even if you weren’t born Japanese.

Read on and you’ll learn my secret to learning to like natto.

Also, make sure to read the advice from natto-loving expats who live in Japan.

I think this is the best way to acquire the taste but there are other tricks to mask the pungent smell and strong flavor.

We all end up having our own favorite way to eat it!

Find my favorite natto recipe below.

Have you ever tried eating natto?

Living in Japan as a foreigner, we all eventually get asked the question in textbook English “Can you eat natto?”

The canned response from foreigners has been “ewe,no thank you!”, with a plugging of our nose gesture.

Maybe you’ve tried to incorporate this ultra-healthy Japanese food into your diet before. But the smell, taste, or slimy texture put a quick end to that well-intentioned idea.

Natto is so good for you– isn’t it worth a second try?

Many people will automatically respond “no!”

But for those brave souls with more adventurous palettes,

this natto recipe is for you.

When mixed with other ingredients, the strong taste and smell of the natto gets masked.

For me, there was one key ingredient that was a game-changer.

It makes it so much easier to like natto, if you aren’t used to eating gooey, fermented foods.

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NATTO HEALTH BENEFITS

In Japan, natto has long been hailed as a superfood. It’s believed that consumption of natto is linked to improved blood flow and reduced risk of stroke.

Natto is an excellent source of plant-based protein, which is especially good news if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

It’s also high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals.

  1. Natto contains more vitamin K2 than any other known food on the planet.
  2. It contains the enzyme nattokinase.
  3. It’s full of probiotics.
  4. It promotes bone health.
  5. It enhances your gut microbiome and digestive health.
  6. It keeps your heart healthy and prevents blood clots.
  7. It’s also packed with vitamin B6 and vitamin E, which boosts cell turnover and slows skin aging.

Why is natto so healthy?

Natto is made by soaking whole soybeans, then steaming or boiling them. A bacteria calledBacillus subtilisbacteria is added. The mixture is stored for 16 hours at a temperature of around 40˚C before being allowed to mature for 24 hours at a low temperature.

The fermentation process produces Vitamin K. It also increases the health benefits of the enzyme found in natto, nattokinase, and other health-boosting components such as isoflavone and polyamine.

People who eat fermented soy-based foods such as “natto” and “miso” on a daily basis reduce the risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack by 10 percent, according to a long-term study by the National Cancer Center in Tokyo.Source:British Medical Journal

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TIPS FOR LEARNING TO LIKE NATTO

This week, I surveyed expats who live in Tokyo and Sapporo about how they learned to eat natto. I was lucky to receive comments from over a hundred foreigners living in Japan.

Here isthe best advice that they shared on how to acquire the taste for natto.

1. First, you have to have the right mindset.

“Just try as a new challenge! It’s healthy and you can eat it in many ways.”

“I think half the battle is mental. I had to convince myself that it was good.”

“It’s the initial experience that throws you off but if you muster enough courage to try a second time, it’s actually fine.”

“Used to hate it, but heard it’s great for your body so I’ve forced myself to have it and now I love it.”

“It helped that before I tried it someone described it as, ‘an acquired taste, like a well aged cheese,’ and I was thinking ‘I love cheese!!’ while I tried it for the first time. If you try natto in the context of everyone saying ‘it’s gross, snotty, and smells bad,’ and expecting you not to like it, it’s not a pleasant experience, unrelated to the flavor.”

2. Start small. Take baby steps.

“At first I ate very small quantities mixed with rice. When my husband ate it, I would steal 4-5 beans and eat them with my own rice. Then progressively upped the quantity, now I can eat a normal portion alone!

3. Add toppings! Mask the taste and smell and alter the texture with other ingredients.

“I like natto, especially served on hot (freshly made) rice and with raw egg. I love karashi mustard mixed with it too.”

“I have it with a raw egg and a dash of soy sauce at least 3 times a week. It’s my go-to snack when I need something nourishing, in a hurry.”

“I had it with parmesan cheese one day on rice and it worked. Also tried with kimchi and also liked it – then I was over my dislike. I usually have it a la japonaise with raw egg. I love to pepper it with a lot of black pepper (saw the idea on television one day and tried it and liked it).”

“Natto curry.That’s also how I acquired the taste.”

“Initially, I had to mix it with either mayonnaise or kimchi or both. Mixing it with Korean seaweed is great too. There’s so many ways to change its tastes for it to be better till you actually ‘acquire’ the taste. Ume-shiso is amazing. Avocado and soy sauce. Or just go crazy with theneba-nebaand add yamaimo, okra, mekabu, etc.”

“Try putting ponzu instead of soy sauce. I feel like it takes the ‘slime’ out a bit and tastes great!”

“I kept coming back to it but the recipe that changed me was a natto cheese omelette.”

“I ate it mixed with rice, kimchi, and melted cheese. Though I suspect that was because it pretty much masked the natto completely.”

“I usually mix it with avocado, green onions and ponzu, and then it’s quite good!”

The secret ingredient in my natto recipe is extra-virgin olive oil!

The oil coats the surface of the beans, making it less sticky. It also masks natto’s strong smell and taste.

The olive oil may also make it easier for you to digest natto, if you normally have a hard time digesting legumes.

Find my full natto recipe with illustrations below.

NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (4)

HOW TO EAT NATTO

First, open the package of natto. Inside, you’ll find a small packet oftare(soy saucebased sauce) andkarashi(Japanese mustard). Take both packets out and set them aside.

Next, peel off the clear film that’s on top of the natto.

The sticky natto will cling to the plastic sheet. Give the plastic sheet a twirl in the air if any stubborn strings of natto try to stay attached.

Since natto is so sticky, there are specific tricks to remove the plastic film without making a mess.

Using chopsticks, you can mix natto right inside the package. Some Japanese people say the natto will taste better if you mix the natto well until it becomes sticky.

After mixing, you can add the tare and mustard on top.

Then, mix it again.

When you eat natto directly from the package, there is also a specific technique so you don’t make a mess with the gooey strings that stick to your chopsticks.

How to eat natto with chopsticks without making a mess

When you eat natto directly from the package, there is also a specific technique so you don’t make a mess with the gooey strings that stick to your chopsticks.

1. First, it’s important to hold your bowl in one hand up close to your mouth.

2. Next, pick up some natto (and rice) with your chopsticks. Raise your chopsticks directly vertical above the bowl. Your chopsticks should be horizontal (parallel to the table).

3. Then, gently move your chopsticks up and down so that that any loose natto beans fall back into your bowl.

4.After you put some natto in your mouth, make a few small counter-clockwise circles in the air with your chopsticks to minimize the sticky strings stretching from your mouth to your chopsticks.

My guess is that Japanese people do this as a habit without even realizing they do it.

How people in Japan eat natto

The most basic way, is eating it straight from the package, mixed with thetaresauce andkarashimustard that comes in the package.

I imagine budget-strapped college students in Japan eating natto this way.

Most people eat natto by mixing it in a bowl with condiments and dashi (sometimes substituted with soy sauce) and then spreading it over hot rice.

Chopped green onions orkatsuobushi, shreaded bonito flakes, are probably the two most popular toppings. You can also sprinkle somekizaminoriseaweed on top.

It’s also very common to eat natto mixed with raw egg over rice.If you come to Japan, you gotta try it! Otherwise, please don’t eat raw egg in your home country unless you are Rocky. As a safe alternative, you could try natto with a fried egg, sunny side up.

Natto-kimchi is another combination to try. At a cheap restaurant I used to go in Yoyogi Uehara, I often ordered this with yakitori. On the menu, it was only like 200 yen.

At restaurants, I’ve also tried natto pasta, natto tempura, and nattoatsuage, fried tofu stuffed with natto. All of these dishes were surprisingly wonderful.

NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (5)

WHERE CAN I BUY NATTO?

In Japan, you would have a harder time tonotfind natto. You’ll even find it at the 7-11.

You’ll always be able to find good quality and inexpensive natto at high-end supermarkets like Kinokuniya, Seijo Ishii, Tokyu, or Queen’s Isetan.

If you’re outside of Japan, you may be able to buy natto at your local Japanese or Asian grocery stores (if you are that lucky).

If you are in the US, there are a few organic soybean farms that sell natto.

My friend from California told me about this farm that sells organic natto in the US.

Megumi Natto

In Australia, you can buy natto fromBuyAsianfood.com.au.

In Singapore, you can buy my favorite organic natto atIsetan.

In Europe, one online option isNanuko.de.

Also, it looks likeNikankitchencarries my natto in Europe.

Another option in the UK isJapan Centre.

Please note that I don’t know about the quality or freshness of the natto available overseas. I’m sure there are more options depending on where you live.

If you need any help, please let me know. I live near Azuma natto’s headquarters– I can ask.

My guess is that if you ask someone who is Japanese living in your community, they will know where to buy the good stuff!

How to make natto taste good – my favorite natto recipe and the secret ingredient

NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (6)

Natto Recipe for Beginners

NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (7)Matt

This is a recipe for people who don't like natto. Natto is an ultra-healthy superfood. But many people say it's an acquired taste. I hope this simple and easy recipe, which masked the taste and smell of plain natto, will help you learn to love eating it!

5 from 1 vote

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 4 minutes mins

Course Breakfast

Cuisine Japanese

Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 packages natto
  • ½ or 1 avocado
  • 5-8 cherry tomatoes

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp French dijon mustard

Optional (Advanced)

  • 1 raw egg yolk*

Instructions

  • Cut avocado into bite-sized chunks inside it's skin. Set aside.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (8)

  • On a cutting board, cut cherry tomatoes into halves or bite-sized chunks. Set aside in a bowl.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (9)

  • Open the packages of natto. Using a spoon, or chopsticks, scoop natto into a bowl.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (10)

  • With a spoon, scoop avocado out of its shell with a spoon. Add to the bowl.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (11)

  • Add cherry tomatoes.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (12)

  • Gently mix ingredients together with chopsticks or a spoon.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (13)

Dressing

  • In a small bowl, combine the mustard, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.*

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (14)

  • Mix the dressing with a spoon or chopsticks.

  • Pour dressing on top of natto, avocado, and cherry tomatoes.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (15)

  • Optional: remove the whites from a raw egg.

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (16)

  • Add yolk on top.*

    NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (17)

Notes

*It's normal and safe to eat raw egg in Japan. In your home country, please consult with an expert before consuming raw egg because of the risk of salmonella.

*Adjust the amount of olive oil, vinegar, and mustard to your taste. I prefer extra mustard.

Keyword Asian, breakfast, fermented, Japanese, natto, sidedish, soybeans, superfood

DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?Tag @eyesandhour on Instagram and hashtag it #eyesandhour

BEST NATTO BRANDS

There’s a lot of good natto in Japan.

Azuma is a popular brand that's my go-to during the week. Their natto is organic and cheap!

When I just started eating natto, I preferred theirhikiwarinatto variety. Hikiwari means the natto beans are chopped up into small pieces. I found it easier to stomach.

Nowadays, I tend to buy theyukisodachi,which is the regular whole bean because I can find it packaged in paper cups rather than the styrofoam that natto usually comes in.

The soybeans used to make Azuma’s organic, non-GMO natto are grown in the US. Azuma also has other non-organic options with soybeans that are grown locally in Japan.

When I lived in Sapporo, I bought some wonderful Hokkaido natto at the natural food store I went to. I’ve still to try black natto. I continue to hunt for the best natto in Japan.

NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (18)
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1) What is natto exactly?

Natto is a traditional Japanese food that's made from whole soybeans that have been fermented. Japanese natto is famous for it’s strong smell, slimy texture, and dangling strings of goo.

In Japan, it's eaten on its own, typically with breakfast. It's also used as the main ingredient in the traditional Japanese dish, natto gohan, which simply means natto over white rice.

Natto gohan with miso soup is a go-to breakfast for money-strapped college students. It's cheap, quick and easy to make, yet still packed with nutrition!

You can even buy natto packs at all the convenience stores in Japan. Just like sushi, it’s part of the culture here.

2) What does natto taste like?

Since natto is such a polarizing food, it really depends who you ask.

People who hate natto might compare it to dirty socks or worse. People who love natto often compare it to aged, stinky cheese with a subtle nutty flavor.

Really, it's hard to say that natto tastes like anything else I've ever eaten. Once you try natto for the first time, you'll know what I mean.

3) Can I make my own homemade natto?

If you aren't able to find packs of natto where you live, it is possible to make your own at home.

My former Australian colleague makes her own natto in her yogurt maker. She brought me some and it was good!

It's also possible to ferment natto in an instant pot. Or you can even buy your own fermented soybean maker machine.

You need is some whole soy beans, a natto starter culture natto bacteria (bacillus subtilis), and time.

Before fermenting, you can cook your whole soy beans in a pressure cooker or steamer.

Here are some blogs that will teach you how to make your own authentic, Japanese natto:

How to Make Natto with a Yogurt Maker

DIY Instant Pot Natto

How to Make Natto in an Instant Pot

4) How much k2 in natto?

Natto is best source of k2 out of any food in the world!

One tablespoon of natto contains 150 micrograms of vitamin K2.

5) Is natto keto friendly?

In general, legumes and beans are not keto because of their high net carb content.

Natto is somewhat of an exception to the rule.

Because natto is fermented, the bacteria actually eats away a percentage of the sugars.

According to Ketogenic Info, one-quarter cup of natto contains only 4 net carbohydrates.

From my research, you may be able to incorporate natto into a keto diet without going out of ketosis.

But it's advised that you stick to one portion (40 gram container).

One note: the pack of tare (sauce) that comes inside each pack of natto contains high fructose and/or refined sugar.

Sugar is usually the first or second ingredient listed.

6) Why is natto stinky?

According to Takano Foods, the distinct smell is produced by the natto bacteria.

The main chemical components of the odor are the ammonia smell and other organic acids. These are produced after the natto bacteria decomposes the soybean protein during the fermentation process.

Fermentation progresses little by little as days pass after production, so the smell gradually becomes stronger.

If you have any other questions about my natto recipe or natto in general, just let me know in the comments below.

NATTO RECIPE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE NATTO (YET) - eyes and hour (2024)
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