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Natto


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230 replies to this topic

#211 sk_ward

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 05:57 PM

I happened to catch the episode of "Hakkutsu! Aru Aru Daijiten II" that aired on Kansai TV on Jan 7. They discussed how natto could help you lose weight, even if you made no other changes to your exercise regimen or diet. They attributed natto's magical weight lose powers to the high level of DHEA found in natto and claimed that you should eat two packs a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. After stirring vigorously, you were supposed to let it rest for about twenty minutes before eating it. On the show, they showed people who followed this diet and lost weight and had an improvement in various blood test parameters. I can't remember exactly what they were, but maybe cholesterol or maybe just DHEA levels? The show sparked a national natto buying frenzy and a natto shortage developed. Several natto companies took out advertisements to apologize for the shortage. From personal experience, natto was NOWHERE to be found in any grocery stores near my apartment! But, alas, it was all lies, and Kansai TV issued a formal apology on tv. They actually used pictures of people who had lost weight, but not by being on the natto diet, and blood tests were never actually carried out. I guess that they weren't expecting this kind of response from their show, but it makes you wonder how many other shows like this are all just bogus...
I just want my natto back! :cool:

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#212 Hiroyuki

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 09:41 PM

I received a copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking for Christmas, and was interested to see his entry on natto. In it, he comments: "Natto ... is notable for being distinctly alkaline (from the breakdown of amino acids into ammonia)." How identifiable is the ammonia in the smell of natto?

I ask because I'd love to try natto, but I can't stand ammonia in, for example, overripe cheese. I've noticed some debate on this thread as to whether or not natto smells like blue cheese (which I like), but I'm thinking more along the lines of Brie or similar cheeses that have been sitting around too long.

I'm not normally afraid of mucilaginous textures, so that doesn't really worry me. (And I really wanted the opportunity to use the word "mucilaginous"!) Is there any hope that I'll like natto?

(I guess the only way to find out for sure is to try it...)

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The ammonia smell becomes a problem only if re-fermentation occurs. The smell is not noticeable provided that the natto is kept refrigerated and consumed by the expiration date.

As I implied earlier, the best way to eat natto while avoiding its smell is eat it while it is still cold. If you put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before you eat it, you really won't think it's stinky.

#213 Hiroyuki

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 09:44 PM

but it makes you wonder how many other shows like this are all just bogus...
I just want my natto back!  :cool:

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Mass media often play things up, but in this particular show, they made up ficticious data, and I think it's very absurd.

#214 jdsears669

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 06:19 PM

but it makes you wonder how many other shows like this are all just bogus...
I just want my natto back!   :cool:

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Mass media often play things up, but in this particular show, they made up ficticious data, and I think it's very absurd.

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Here is what I heard in California about it:

Last week a TV show created an instant rush on natto when it broadcast a report that said that, based on hard data from the U.S., eating natto twice a day would lead to losing 2-3 kg per week. Although natto does have various health benefits such as reducing blood clots and lowering cholesterol, the show's fabrication of actual data was another example of the Japanese media's love of "yarase" or faking on the air to get good ratings.

Is "yarase" a common pratice?

#215 Hiroyuki

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 06:18 AM

but it makes you wonder how many other shows like this are all just bogus...
I just want my natto back!   :cool:

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Mass media often play things up, but in this particular show, they made up ficticious data, and I think it's very absurd.

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Here is what I heard in California about it:

Last week a TV show created an instant rush on natto when it broadcast a report that said that, based on hard data from the U.S., eating natto twice a day would lead to losing 2-3 kg per week. Although natto does have various health benefits such as reducing blood clots and lowering cholesterol, the show's fabrication of actual data was another example of the Japanese media's love of "yarase" or faking on the air to get good ratings.

Is "yarase" a common pratice?

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I will be brief because I don't think this is food-related. I'd say yes, they would do anything for a good rating.

I don't watch much TV these days. I only watch programs that I believe are good, but even when I watch them, I tend to take them with a grain of salt.

#216 SheenaGreena

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 09:43 AM

not a japanese recipe, but I'm sure some of you will enjoy this:

Last week I went home to visit my parents (spring break) and I decided to pack some natto in my suitcase. I double bagged it and I packed it in with my clothes and surprisingly enough there was no odor - thank god. So I brought it with me, because my mother loves this fermented soy bean paste called "chong guk jang" or something like that. It's basically natto except the beans are smashed and a little hot pepper flakes are added and it's more expensive. Its traditionally served in a stew and instead of using that my mother used that natto that I brought over.

here's an approximation of what my mom did.

take 3 packets of natto (don't need the mustard and soy sauce) and smash them in a mortar with a pestle. My mother uses a wooden pestle in a plastic mortar. You don't want to grind them into a paste, just until its relatively chunky.

Stir fry smashed up natto with some sliced pork (any cut will do), tofu - cubed firm or smashed soft is good), and some really sour cabbage kimchi.

Add gochugaru - red pepper flakes, and then add water to taste. You want it to be like a chunky stew. Simmer for a few minutes, garnish with sliced green onion, and serve with a hot bowl of rice

Believe it or not, cooking the natto actually m akes most of the smell go away. This reminded me of soon dubu (soft tofu soup) but with an added kick. My mother actually liked using the natto better, because it was so cheap.

I hope you might try this recipe, because I absolutely loved it and I am going to make it myself now that I'm back home.

eta: Don't know if you care, but I found this to be interesting: when my mom was little, she said that her mother used to ferment the soy beans on the hot floor (called ondol) with a blanket thrown on top of the soy beans. This caused the beans to ferment. I believe that japanese nowadays do something similar where they throw a heating blanket on top of the beans to cause fermentation.

Edited by SheenaGreena, 30 March 2007 - 09:48 AM.

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#217 JasonTrue

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 09:54 AM

I actually like natto misoshiru, which also mellows out the natto aroma.
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#218 SheenaGreena

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:07 AM

I actually like natto misoshiru, which also mellows out the natto aroma.

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who would've guessed that cooking natto kills some of the smell? My mother did cook it in her sun room on a portable burner and that stunk to high heaven. When I had the bowl of it in front of me though, it diidn't smell.

what else do you put in the natto misoshiru? I would love to make that as well
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#219 JasonTrue

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:30 AM

Usually fairly minimalist... negi and nattou, soup stock and miso. One CookPad recipe suggests adding slightly poached egg.

what else do you put in the natto misoshiru? I would love to make that as well

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#220 SheenaGreena

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:49 AM

Usually fairly minimalist... negi and nattou, soup stock and miso. One CookPad recipe suggests adding slightly poached egg.

what else do you put in the natto misoshiru? I would love to make that as well

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that sounds delicious, especially with the addition of the poached egg. I just looked in my refridgerator for a packet of natto but I ate it all earlier. I will give your suggestions a go next week and will probably use korean soy bean paste instead.
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#221 puerco

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:12 AM

i've heard that people either love natto or hate it, but does anyone else find it boring? sure it's gooey and smells a little funky, but it's got nothing on some of the stinkier french washed-rind cheeses, and the taste, well, it tastes like, um, soybeans. i'm really surprised that anyone would have strong reaction one way or the other to it, miso and shoyu are both stronger flavors by miles.

#222 nakji

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:26 AM

i've heard that people either love natto or hate it, but does anyone else find it boring? sure it's gooey and smells a little funky, but it's got nothing on some of the stinkier french washed-rind cheeses, and the taste, well, it tastes like, um, soybeans. i'm really surprised that anyone would have strong reaction one way or the other to it, miso and shoyu are both stronger flavors by miles.


Yes, yes, yes. I want to report that I was shocked by it, but actually I was bored by it. I think the texture is really what some people find challenging, rather than the taste. But either way, I didn't react nearly as strongly to it as I have to other foods in Asia. If it shows up on the table, I'll eat it. If not, I don't go looking for it.

#223 sazji

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:35 PM

I tasted it at a party given by a Japanese professor; she had it divided neatly into little portions for everyone to taste. I think she was going for the shock factor. I can't say I even noticed the taste much, the smell was not too shocking. But I have to admit the texture did me in; it felt like the slime was growing over the inside of my mouth. They gave it to a poor guy from Pakistan and the look on his face was priceless. ;)

What does cooking do to the texture?
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#224 Hiroyuki

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 04:39 PM

Anything can be boring if you don't care for it. Rice can be boring, bread can be boring, vegetables can be boring, and beef can be boring. The list can last forever. As for me, natto never fails to fascinate me, almost every morning. Cheap, a great source of protein, and yummy! I can't live without natto!

As for the texture of natto when cooked, the slime is on the outside of each bean, so cooking natto makes it less slimy. For example, if you make miso soup with natto, the natto itself will be much less slimy, and the soup will become slightly slimy. If you make natto tempura, you won't tell it's slimy, but you will have to endure the odor while making natto tempura!

#225 YSC

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 02:52 PM

I'm glad this thread got bumped up because I'm currently going through a natto craving. I just went home to visit my parents and while I was there my dad was eating natto all the time. I hadn't eaten natto in years but of course I had to join him... now that I'm back I have a strange craving for it.

I went to the local Nijiya supermarket and they sold some in the refrigerated section. However, I could not find any expiry date on it. I've heard that you have to eat it fairly soon if not frozen. How long can refrigerated natto last? Also, I like to make maguro natto and when I do I use wasabi instead of karashi. Does it make a difference?

#226 JasonTrue

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 03:24 PM

Unless you're buying a fairly unusual wasabi product (fresh, or from that Oregon company that produces all-wasabi wasabi paste), you're basically using a mix of Japanese mustard, western horseradish and food coloring (with some small amount of real wasabi in some products) when you buy wasabi in a tube or can. So the difference is rather small.
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#227 Hiroyuki

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 04:20 PM

How long can refrigerated natto last? I'm not sure but I'd say one to two weeks. When natto smells of ammonia, has turned dark brown, and is no longer thready, it's no longer good to eat.

As for wasabi, wasabi is for the maguro. Whether the maguro, natto, and everything else should be mixed together? Well, I had a little discussion in my blog, where Kake provided a link to her beautiful natto maguro.

#228 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 06:43 PM

What do you call natto in Korean? I'd like to try out the chongukjang that Sheena has described since I have a lot of sour kimchi in my fridge.
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#229 SheenaGreena

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 03:35 PM

its just called cheonggukjang in korean (: and the stew that it's usually made into is called cheonggukjang chigae
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#230 melonpan

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 03:48 PM

cheonggukjang is probably the best name for it, but they are different. cheonggukjang isnt eaten the way natto is, instead it is almost exclusively used in stews. of course there are people who find novel ways to use food stuffs... but its usually a base for stews.

they are similar yet different in the way the following are the same yet different:

miso:duenjang
makizushi:kimbap
natto:cheonggukjang

of these three examples, id say that natto/cheonggukjang are the least similar in usage.

i like natto and it appeals to my korean tastes and i think koreans in general would like natto more, but maybe in the end, its too mild even with wasabi/karashi. not enough garlic, not enough chiles! ;-)

Edited by melonpan, 05 May 2009 - 03:51 PM.

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#231 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:05 AM

Okay I did it...I finally ate the natto,,,,Annnnd I love it.

I made two types, the one that Torakris eats for breakfast and plain with the soy sauce, mustard and scallion.
I like the Torakris version better...

I just could never get thru the smell in the past

YAY, Im over that hump now
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