I was just going to eat some natto with my rice on July 10 in honor of Natto Day, but my friend suggested that I try cooking with natto, and I'm glad I did. If you already love natto, then you might wonder why you would take a perfectly malodorous, gooey batch of fermented soybeans and do anything with it besides eat it out of the box. As it turns out, natto is delicious in other cooking preparations as well. The heat takes some of the pungency out of the beans and transforms them into savory, cheese-like nuggets.
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Imagine biting into a freshly fried spring roll, its shell breaking off in crispy, golden-brown shards to a piping-hot center of natto beans. The taste is still distinctly natto-esque, but with a kind of maturity and softness that is really pleasant.
The directions are simple: boil a piece of tofu, drain it, and puree it in the blender with Saikkyo miso (a particularly sweet and winey variety) with a bit of mirin (sweet sake) and salt to taste. Three ingredients in all, and either firm or soft tofu works.