Natto: Production, Taste and Use of “Buddhist Cheese”

Natto comes from Japan and is made from fermented soybeans. In this article you will learn everything there is to know about the Japanese dish.

Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made from soybeans. More specifically, natto is a fermented soy productwhich is especially characterized by its fibrous and viscous consistency.

In Japan, natto is particularly popular in combination with rice. A traditional Japanese natto breakfast might look like this: The natto is first mixed with spicy mustard and a special soy sauce. It is then served over rice and garnished with fresh, finely chopped chives.

How is natto made and how does it taste?

Soy is the base of natto.
Soy is the base of natto.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / pnmralex)

manufacturing

When making natto, it’s important to work in as sterile an environment as possible. Soybeans are first soaked for several hours and then boiled. Once the beans have cooled, they are inoculated with Bacillus subtilis bacteria. The beans are then stored in a hot box or incubator at around 40 degrees Celsius so that the fermentation process can work optimally. This maturation process usually takes up to 24 hours and the natto is ready to eat.

storage and shelf life

Fresh natto keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week. Since it is a “live” product due to the active microorganisms, the natto will continue to age in the refrigerator. The flavor and aromas become more and more intense. Alternatively, natto can also be wonderfully frozen, this slows down the ripening process. When removing, always make sure to use clean cutlery. This way you prevent harmful microorganisms from settling and multiplying in the natto.

taste

Natto tastes and smells like something that takes some getting used to. It is one of those foods that most people either love or hate. In addition to its strictly aromatic and slightly nutty note, the flavors umami and salty available. It may take a few tries before the natto tastes good. So don’t give up too soon and give your taste buds time to get used to the specialty. The combination with other ingredients is particularly important. As mentioned above, natto, with its stringy consistency that resembles melted cheese, tastes particularly good with rice, mustard, soy sauce and fresh chives. Natto also tastes good on bread, with vegetables, or in soups.

How healthy is natto, what makes it so special, and where do you get it?

Natto can provide your body with valuable nutrients.
Natto can provide your body with valuable nutrients.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / 魔理沙のズボラ飯)

become general fermented foods associated with many health-promoting properties. For example, they are said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and have digestive properties.

Soy products like natto are rich in protein and other important nutrients. These include, above all B vitamins, iron Y magnesium. The fermentation process produces vitamin K2 and the enzyme nattokinase in natto. These ingredients are said to be partly responsible for the beneficial health effects described above.

In general, natto can be classified as a health-promoting food. Natto consumption can be within a balance diet makes sense, but isn’t necessary.

In our latitudes it is not easy to find natto. There are three options: you can look for it in the Asian market, order it online, or make natto yourself. However, to make your own you need starter cultures, which you can buy online anyway, and a heat box to reach the 40 degrees Celsius needed for fermentation.

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