Japanese natto beans and rice

by Heguiberto on September 26, 2011

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I’ve had natto at sushi restaurants before, but never dared using this ingredient at home for a very simple reason: natto stinks, and not exactly in a good way, though it tastes perfectly good when served in my maki rolls. So I have to confess that I’ve been natto-curious. Last week while shopping at Nijiya in the Japan Center I overcame my hesitation and trifling anxiety, and got some to prepare at home. Like most Brazilians, I love rice and beans, which was my inspiration here: Tokyo meets São Paulo.

Japanese natto beans and rice

Japanese natto beans and rice

Natto is a healthy processed soybean product, quite unlike tofu or soy sauce. Made of steamed soybeans that get mixed with a starter, natto-kin (bacillus subtilis natto), and left to ferment at a controlled temperature for a few days, the beans evolve into a slimy, sticky consistency with a pungent and nutty flavor. You can use it in soups, toast, noodles or rice. It adds an exciting layer of complex flavors to the dish. Behold the power of fermented foods! I am going to try making natto at home from scratch sometime. Follow this link to make natto.

Store-bought is a breeze though, and undoubtedly less time-consuming. To make natto beans and rice, really all you must do is cook the rice. The rest of the ingredients merely need assemblage.

my pre-made natto

my pre-made natto

Japanese natto beans and rice

1 cup Japanese sushi rice
1¾ cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tbsp rice vinegar
1 portion of natto
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp chili garlic paste
1 whole scallion, chopped fine
Strands of toasted nori (dried seaweed/sea vegetable)

Place rice, water, olive oil, salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir to prevent sticking. Reduce temperature to low, cover and cook until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, keep lid on for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully stir vinegar in.

Meanwhile transfer natto to a bowl and stir it with a wooden spoon for 5-10 minutes. It will form a white stringy, marshmallow like thread around the beans. Worry not, that’s what it is supposed to look like. Stir in soy sauce, and scallions. Plate individual portions of rice, spoon with some natto over it and top with nori.

I served this dish with green acorn squash and sautéed shitake mushroom. It was a nice and unusual way of eating rice and beans. There will be more!

You can see other ways of eating natto in this informative video:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara September 26, 2011 at 3:27 am

I’m totally unfamiliar with natto. So I learned something right off the bat. I’d love to know more about their flavor and did the smell still bother you while making your dish?
Serving them with rice and fruit sounds like a great idea; some of the dishes in the video were not very tempting. 🙂
Barbara recently posted..Marion Cunningham’s Fresh Ginger MuffinsMy Profile

Anna September 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

This looks delicious, as usual 😀 Stevie – definitely to the pumpkin martini!!! And in my picture, I am holding tea from China that my husband just brought back. It smells SO very wonderful and I thought it looked unique, too!!
Anna recently posted..Pumpkin-Carrot Treats, Three WaysMy Profile

Kathryn September 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

About five years ago I read a lot about the health benefits of natto but couldn’t get up the nerve to try it. You may have finally talked me into it. This afternoon I’ve got to pick up a few things at the Asian market – who knows what will end up in my cart!
Kathryn recently posted..Meatless Monday & Mexican PizzaMy Profile

Magic of Spice September 27, 2011 at 9:25 am

I don’t believe I have ever tried natto before, and would probably remember if I had per your description. This dish however looks absolutely delicious, so now I am curious to try 🙂
Magic of Spice recently posted..What’s for dessert? Stagnola Blu Stuffed Black Figs with AwardsMy Profile

wizzythestick October 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm

absolutely new ingredient for me…looks interesting

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: