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Natto


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230 replies to this topic

#1 chopjwu12

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Posted 31 August 2002 - 11:01 PM

So im sitting here watching iron chef to get some food ideas. When my man wips out noto beans as the secret ingredient. Im looking at these piled up beans sitting in something that looks like alot of built up mucus and snot. These things were gross looking. Now im not saying i wouldn't eat them im just asking what the hell are they and why are they so sticky like that? Has anyone tried them before?

#2 torakris

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 12:41 AM

Since I haven't seen that particular show I can't be sure, but I think they are natto. These are fermented soybeans and they are very common in Japan and a similar version is also eaten in Korea. They actually smell about 100 times worse than they look, and are a very acquired taste. I have to admit even though I love them now it took years to get to this point. Theya re most commonly eaten as a breakfast food, mixed together with karashi (Japanese mustard) and soy sauce and eaten on a bowl of white rice. Other popular additions can include: scallions, katsuo boshi (bonito flakes), egg yolks and even mayo! I like to add some chopped up (raw) okra to mine.
They are most popular in Tokyo and the Northerny parts of Japan, those in Osaka and the South usually turn up their noses at it.
The smell can be pretty bad if you are not used to it, and they now have smell-less versions on the market.
They are also a popular ingredient in maki zushi (rolled sushi) especially with the kids. And are also used as fillings in omelettes and gyoza (dumplings).
What do they taste like? It is hard to describe, it is a very strong yet bland bean flavor, it really need the mustard and soy to give it some oomph.

Hope this was what you were seeing on tv, if they were small brown beans held together by a stringy, gooey substance, then I can't imagine it being anyhting other than natto.

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#3 SerenityH82

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 06:54 AM

Ive never had Natto but I did watch the show where they did have it on there. It looked gross to me at first but all they did with it. It was interesting.

#4 Suzanne F

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 10:37 AM

Ah, natto. David, your description is dead on. A friend (a Westerner, who had a Japanese boyfriend and roommates) gave me a taste once. People I know either love it or hate it. I'm in the latter camp.

#5 chopjwu12

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 09:29 PM

I agree everything done with the notto was very interesting and yes it was notto. I would like to get my hands on some. Where is it available in the city?

#6 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 09:32 AM

Yes, natto is perhaps more interesting than delicious. All the comparisons to stinky cheese aren't far off.

My favorite part of that episode was Fukui-san's comment at the end of the tasting:

"Who will win and who will lose... This is natto gonna be easy!"
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#7 Akiko

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 02:55 AM

:biggrin:

Personally, I love natto, but I will admit, its an acquired taste. Something about that bitter, slightly nutty, flavour and the uber okra-ish texture.. I just think its the best.

I missed the show, will someone describe to me what the chefs made with it? What foods did they combine it with? Did they bake, saute, sear it?

#8 chopjwu12

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 07:45 AM

chalanger was very traditional because he was from the ohta faction. I cant remember everything but it was mixed into rice balls, made with eggs like an omlet, miso soup, and a coupel of others. Morimoto made a dip with mayo, made a dessert with it, made a soup with a fish soy sauce and put that in there, he also did something where he spread it with miso and charred it then served it with rice. i know there was more but thats what i remember.

#9 201

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 08:04 AM

I agree everything done with the notto was very interesting and yes it was notto. I would like to get my hands on some. Where is it available in the city?

My brother's girlfriend is Japanese and enjoys natto quite a bit. My brother, however, described it as something like this, "People usually say something 'tastes like shit' just because they don't like it, regardless of what the actual flavor is. If I had to bet on it though, I'd say natto is probably the closest you can get to the actual flavor of shit without eating feces." They've worked out a system where if she's going to eat natto, she has to let him know so he can leave the house for a couple of hours. Seems strange to me, but I haven't had any first-hand experience with it since my brother feels the need to "protect" me from it.

In any case, they live in Colorado right now, but used to live in Jersey so I'll find out where to get some natto when I speak with them later today. Just off the top of my head (if you're looking in Jersey at all), I'd say to try Mitsuwa in Edgewater. It's a very good Japanese supermarket and they MIGHT even have some prepared natto dishes. If not, you can always try to reconstruct some dishes from Iron Chef. :wink:

#10 201

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 04:07 PM

Well, I just spoke with my brother who said that Mitsuwa in Edgewater should certainly have natto and also told me a Japanese grocery store in Ridgewood which definitely has it. He said most any Japanese grocery store should have it.

As for eating natto prepared in a restaurant, he said that one can often find it at "the better sushi places". It's probably going to be placed on top of a roll in such a place, but you might be able to get it in a different form. I'd imagine it's a rare request coming from anyone who doesn't look to be of Asian descent, so you might have to work hard to actually convince the waiter that you want it.

I still haven't asked his girlfriend about it (she wasn't home yet), but if she has any more to add, I'll post it later tonight.

#11 torakris

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 04:16 PM

Any Asian grocery in the US should stock it. It normally has a pretty short shelf life (3 to 5 days after packaging) so it is usually sold in the US frozen.
So check the freezer section for little styrofoam boxes about 3 x3 inches, they are often sold in packs of 2 or 3.
Enjoy!

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#12 lizziee

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 06:10 PM

I am totally weird, but I love natto. When my son was little,we would take him to sushi bars and if I ordered natto; he would loudly complain -"Oh no. not natto!"

One of my favorite ways to have natto is in a bowl with largely diced raw tuna and a quail egg on top.

#13 Jinmyo

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 06:29 PM

lizziee, I was just going to recommend natto with quail egg. :smile:
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

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#14 Wimpy

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 10:09 PM

Natto is healthfood and tastes wonderful! Anyone who likes strong (some may say putrid) taste/smell of French cheeses should have no problem with it (e.g. Maroille, Livarot).

Have you tried miso soup with natto? Faaantastic.

#15 Suzanne F

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:17 AM

Okay, a serious question for all natto lovers: what happens to the gluey "sauce" when natto is used as an ingredient in another dish? Since that's the part that turns me off the most, if it sort of disappears I might be able to give natto another chance. Maybe.

#16 Jinmyo

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 07:21 AM

Suzanne, if you whip the natto as per usual and then bury it in onigiri (rice balls) you wouldn't notice the gossamer threads of goodness. In miso shiru it is quite apparent. Unless you just drink the soup directly from the bowl in a few turns.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#17 Akiko

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 07:54 AM

If you "sear" the natto it you will lose all the gluey little threads, and that roasted flavor comes out, its really quite good. Morimoto's natto and miso thing that he did searing the natto with miso on top is probably delicious.

I do have to warn you though... have you smelled natto? Cooking it intensifies that smell and helps it permeate your whole kitchen :raz:

My husband has banned natto from our apartment, as much as I love it, I'm not allowed to bring it home, or kiss my husband after I've eaten it!

Akiko

#18 vogelap

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:46 AM

As a tried & true Iron Chef fan myself (we even got engaged at restaurant Morimoto (read all about it here)), I have seen the Natto Battle several times.

My sister-in-law is Japanese, and happened to have some Natto on hand when we were at her house one night. It is truly an aquired taste, reminding me in some ways of strong bleu cheese, but with a nutty flavor.

And the threads. Phew. Those threads are EVERYWHERE!

It's an interesting flavor. I'm glad I tasted it, but I will report that I have not had any since then!
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#19 torakris

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 04:02 PM

If you cook it in a omelette, it loses that "stringiness" (is that a word? is it spelled right?).I aslo saw on tv, that if you mix it 100 (or was it 200?) times the strings disappear. I have never tried it, personally I love the strings, but my friend did and said that it actually worked.
They also sell a special type of natto over here (Japan) that has no strings, this is usually used in the maki zushi (sushi rolls).

If you are really bored one day and are looking for something to do, give a bowl of natto gohan (white rice topped with natto) to a 1 year old child to eat by themself. You can then spend hours afterwards washing and rewashing (atleast 5 times) the table, chairs, clothes, and walls (if they are a really messy eater). Don't worry about the hair, it will take at least a couple of days to get it completely out! :biggrin:

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#20 tissue

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 11:38 AM

I love natto. It's an acquired taste but I absolutely can't get enough of it. Especially when it is in a don where there is sashimi mixed with it.

#21 southern girl

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 12:23 PM

Just finished a bowl of brown rice with natto and some chopped scallions :wub: . Very good.

#22 tissue

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 03:57 PM

Do you guys prefer mustard or soy sauce with your natto?
I like soy sauce better....

#23 torakris

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 04:01 PM

Why limit yourself to just one?
I use both!

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#24 tissue

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 09:27 AM

Why limit yourself to just one?
I use both!

I can't. It's a personal issue. Reminds me of dim sum when my sauces get accidentally mixed up on my plate.

Any other sauces one eats with natto?

I wonder what it tastes like with hot sauce.

#25 torakris

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 04:43 PM

It is quite common in Japan to mix it with either mayo or kimchi, neither of which I have any intention of trying! :biggrin:

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#26 Akiko

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 03:52 AM

Mayonnaise? I've never seen that but that actually appeals to me... spicy natto rolls anyone? If you mixed some thai/vietnamese chili sauce with mayo and put a dollop of that with a dollop of natto in a handroll?

But the kim chie sounds like a horrid combination... although I've recently been put off of kim chie because I had an encounter with some rancid gaktogi as well as kim chie this past weekend.. it almost made me wonder if some people actually like their kim chie that way (came from a pretty reputable korean restaurant)... like actually prefer rancid with their korean pickles? Sort of like game and degrees of highness (is that even the right way to use that word?)

#27 Jinmyo

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 04:40 AM

I wonder what it tastes like with hot sauce.

Probably good. Natto is nice with togarashi so why not Tabasco?

Akiko, that's just rotten kimchee. I buy my kimchee in huge bottles. The kimchee guy always points out the freshest ones to me. There's nothing like the effervescence and clean taste of fresh kimchee. It loses this after a week.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#28 Wimpy

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 12:06 AM

Here's the way I eat Natto (pretty standard):

cook rice (only Japanese will do for best results and only freshly cooked)
toast sheet of seaweed (same as used for sushi) over gas burner
slice green onion into very fine discs
get bonito flakes (katsuo-bushi)
get one fresh, raw egg

get mixing bowl, throw in natto, green onion, one raw egg, and mix vigorously and season with soy sauce and mustard (until nice and frothy) add bonito flakes

put rice in donburi, pour natto mix over rice, shred toasted seaweed with scissors over the whole thing

Heaven!

PS instead of raw egg, you can throw in grated tororo-imo aka yama-imo or chopped up blanched okra
:biggrin:

#29 tissue

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 08:49 AM

After reading this thread I went out and bought some natto for lunch. Sure I really grossed out my coworkers when I was eating it with my spicy tuna roll. But you know, can't please everyone. Note: natto and spice go good together. I'm going to try Wimpy's recipe but maybe add a little chopped up anaheim or jalapenos for a kick.

BTW, did you know that they have a brand that is fortified with calcium specifically for women? No I did not buy that one.

Can anyone help me with the differences? I noticed yesterday some are chopped up and some are whole.

#30 torakris

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 03:28 PM

Wimpy
that is exactly the same way I make it!
I use only the yolk though and sometimes instead of adding the nori to the top I use small pieces (about 1 by 3 inches) to pick up some of the rice and natto.

Tissue, the chopped up ones are usually for natto maki, the natto and rice rolled in seaweed snack eaten out of hand.

You should see the variety they have in Japan, some come withnan umeboshi sauce instead of the regular tsuyu another one has something like 5 different grains added as well.Then there are the bean differences, anywhere from little tiny brown ones to jumbo black ones.

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