What Is Natto?
Nattō (なっとう or 納豆) is a traditional Japanese food made of fermented soybeans. It is usually served over rice with green onions, soy sauce and karashi mustard. Natto is most commonly eaten as a Japanese style breakfast food.
Because of its strong smell and flavor, as well as slimy texture, Natto may be an acquired taste even for the Japanese. Natto is eaten mostly in Kanto (Tokyo) area, Tohoku (northern part of Japan), and Hokkaido.
How To Eat Natto
In the US, Natto is usually in the refrigerator section of the Japanese or Asian grocery store. I usually keep some packages in a freezer and defrost before eating.
Remove natto from its package into a bowl.
Add the soy sauce that comes with the package or your own, sometimes the included soy sauce is enhanced with flavors like katsuobushi or kombu.
If you like, add chopped scallions/green onions. I also like to add chopped umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum). Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!
Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆)
Besides eating natto with rice, it is also used in natto sushi, natt0 toast, salad, or even with spaghetti. When natto is used for cooking, we usually use Hikiwari Natto, which is soybeans that are crushed and fermented. The texture is quite different from the whole bean and it’s easier to work with and it doesn’t have the chunky texture.