Friday, April 27, 2012

Shirakiku Natto

 Next Round: Shirakiku brand natto. 

This variety of natto is somewhat wetter than some of the others, so it went well with some of my 8-grain rice, which cooks up a bit dry. The seasoning pack features sweet rice wine, bonito and fish sauce, lending a savory fish aroma but also subtle sweetness.

Natto comes in many types, with various sizes and species of soybean, different sauces and textures, and the beans may be prepared chopped or whole. Commercially packed natto can be pretty enigmatic sitting in its little styrofoam boxes in the freezer case at a Japanese grocery, so I've tried to photograph what's in the boxes as well, and how they look with the sauce mixed in, to give you an idea of the differences between them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Goku Kotsubu Mini 3

So, I've finally decided to get this thing off the ground! I'm going to offer reviews of the various pre-packaged natto varieties I've tried.

Let's start with one of my favorites so far...

 Goku Kotsubu Mini 3 seems to be a fairly popular brand (read: I've found it in more than one store among the few that sell natto). The beans have a nice texture and richness, and this type comes with a seasoning pack and some mustard. The sauce is a little darker and more flavorful than some others, which I like.

The meal pictured in my first post was made with this type of natto.  The beans here are a good size and as far as their "stringy-ness", they're about in the middle of the pack. The long, stretchy strings formed by natto when stirred are supposedly a key part of their flavor- the more strings, the more pungent and "fermented" they taste. It's important to stir natto well, preferably with a little soy sauce or the sauce provided, to loosen them up and release their full flavor.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome to the Nattosphere

What is natto?

Natto is a type of fermented soybean commonly eaten in Japan. The beans are fermented with lactobacillus culture, the same thing we use to make yogurt, cheese, beer and wine. Like other foods made from soybeans, such as tofu and tempeh, it is high and protein and low in fat. Many health claims are made regarding natto, but many people simply eat it for sheer enjoyment.

Why did I start this blog?
Natto is not common in the United States, and most references I could find mentioning natto in English were either from health food evangelists or people who, to put it lightly, hated the stuff. My own first experience with natto also left me unimpressed, but on a trip to Japan, I decided to give it another chance, and really enjoyed it. Now I regularly stock up on a variety of brands at my local Japanese grocery. However, natto comes in a number of types and flavors, and I can never remember which ones I liked best. This blog is an attempt to illuminate the world of commerical natto for anyone who might be inclined to try it.

I'll try to post whenever I open a new package...