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How to Eat Natto: 9 Ideas That’ll Make You Love Fermented Beans

how to eat natto
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Japan-coutry-movie

Natto is a deliciously healthy and versatile ingredient which can be enjoyed in many different dishes. Here are nine of the best ways how to eat natto.

Natto is a traditional Japanese food typically enjoyed with breakfast. Natto is made from soy beans, a relatively sustainable crop when grown for human consumption, as opposed to livestock. Soybeans are fermented to produce natto, a rich food full of health benefits. It is a natural probiotic great for digestion, and is high in many vitamins and minerals.

Natto can be eaten on its own as well as added to a variety of dishes. The fermented beans are characterized by their strong smell, and slimy and sticky texture. On its own, natto tastes a bit nutty. Typically, natto is included as a small part of a larger meal, so you can enjoy it in a savory or sweeter fashion. It’s a versatile food which can be prepared in different ways including all sorts of condiments, veggies and more, so that you enjoy the taste.

1. Natto Gohan

Learn how to eat natto the traditional way by eating natto grohan.
Learn how to eat natto the traditional way by eating natto grohan. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / whui1818)

The most traditional way to eat natto is over rice, which is a popular breakfast dish in Japan. It’s incredibly easy to prepare as all you need is steamed rice, natto, and toppings of your choice. Make sure to stir your natto for a few minutes to maximize the savory umami flavor. Some common toppings include green onions, mayo, seaweed, wasabi, karashi (Japanese mustard) and eggs. While you can cook the egg if you prefer, natto gohan is traditionally eaten with a raw egg or egg yolk. As long as you make sure to select your eggs carefully, there are many benefits of eating raw eggs. Don’t forget to top off your dish with some soy sauce.

2. Natto Chahan

Make sure to use at least day-old rice when making fried rice.
Make sure to use at least day-old rice when making fried rice. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / takedahrs)

Similar to Natto gohan, natto chahan is a type of Japanese fried rice. Next time you have some leftover rice in the fridge, fry it with some sesame oil, natto, and veggies for a vegan twist on natto chahan. Add soy sauce and ginger toward the end and enjoy this quick, delicious meal.

3. Sushi

Make natto rolls at home.
Make natto rolls at home. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Wetmount)

Natto makes a delicious addition to homemade sushi. You can easily make veggie sushi rolls at home using nori, rice, and whatever vegetables you have laying around. Throw some natto in with your cucumber and carrots, or make some simple rolls with natto alone. This makes for a fun DIY dinner with friends, and you’ll enjoy snacking on the leftovers over the next days.

4. Ramen

Ramen is a satisfying way to eat natto.
Ramen is a satisfying way to eat natto. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / 5amramen)

You may not have guessed that natto would do well in a hot broth soup. However, this is a great option if you want to reap the benefits of this food, but you don’t enjoy the stringy or gooey texture of natto. Add some to your homemade veggie ramen, or use it to spice up a packaged ramen when you’re feeling lazy.

5. Miso Soup

Toss some natto into your miso soup.
Toss some natto into your miso soup. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / lpegasu)

Double up on the fermented soybean flavor by adding natto to miso soup. This is a delicious way to enjoy all the savory umami flavor without struggling as much on the chewy, sticky texture of natto.

6. Natto Toast

If you prefer toast over rice for breakfast, try natto toast.
If you prefer toast over rice for breakfast, try natto toast. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / ohmorimutsuhiro)

Natto toast is a recently popularized, sort of “westernized” version of consuming natto. This is an easy way to enjoy natto for breakfast. Make natto toast in the oven by placing natto, cheese and some veggies onto a slice of bread and broiling it for a couple of minutes. Or, make natto egg toast on the stove by brushing an egg and cheese mixture over your bread and frying it on each side. If you’re really hungry, you might even want to add some more ingredients and turn this into a grilled cheese.

7. Japanese Omelet

Try making a Japanese omelette.
Try making a Japanese omelette. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PublicDomainPictures)

Add some natto to your egg mixture next time you make an omelette. Fry the egg mixture with some garlic and scallions before folding the omelette in half for a fluffy, nutrient-dense breakfast food. If you’re looking for a recipe to follow, try the Natto Omelet by Chef Ja Cooks.

8. Yakisoba Stir-Fry

Add some natto to your stir-fried noodles.
Add some natto to your stir-fried noodles. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / vanmachadoribeiro)

Next time you’re making a stir-fry, top it off with some natto. Yakisoba is a traditional Japanese stir-fry made with soba (buckwheat) noodles. You can add natto to this dish by frying it right in, or adding some on top when you’re about to eat.

9. Curry

Wondering how to eat natto? Add it into a curry.
Wondering how to eat natto? Add it into a curry. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / subarasikiai)

You can also add natto atop a Japanese curry. All you need is some potatoes, carrots, onions and some Japanese curry roux cubes. Prepare the curry and top it off with some natto. It pairs just as well with udon noodles as it does over rice.

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