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  • Natto

    Post #1 - November 3rd, 2005, 5:33 pm
    Post #1 - November 3rd, 2005, 5:33 pm Post #1 - November 3rd, 2005, 5:33 pm
    What? You've never tried natto?

    E.M.
  • Post #2 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:02 pm
    Post #2 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:02 pm Post #2 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:02 pm
    Alice likes exactly what I hate about it...the goo. I've never been a goo fan (okra can sometimes get to me, too) and would watch in horror every morning as my Japanese host father cracked an egg into it and whisked it to a frothy, gooey, sticky mess. Even now I can't get the image of the goo trailing from the sides of his mouth out of my head.

    Thanks for the flashback...ugh.
  • Post #3 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:09 pm
    Post #3 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:09 pm Post #3 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:09 pm
    I tried it at Katsu a while back. I accept that objectively, it's no more horrible than a lovely blue cheese with veins of grey mousefur running through it. But I spent many years cultivating a taste for that. I'm too old to start on natto. I see the trail of goo as it stretches away from the plate on chopsticks, and I can only think, Alien.
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  • Post #4 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:14 pm
    Post #4 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:14 pm Post #4 - November 3rd, 2005, 6:14 pm
    ...and, no surprise...I loathe all blues...despite being a cheese importer of some of the most stridently blue of the blues for several years. Erbonati di pecora, anyone? Gorgonzale Piccante Vecchio? Bleu del rei? Cabrales? Valdeon? Colston-Bassett Stilton? I would rather suck on my shoes than have any of them near me - not because they smell but because I find them terribly, terribly bitter (which I learned in my taste class is actually a genetic thing). But I think the real equivalent of Natto isn't blue but washed rind cheeses...the smell of those (bright orange with b.linens) sends the faint hearted right over the edge.
  • Post #5 - November 3rd, 2005, 7:13 pm
    Post #5 - November 3rd, 2005, 7:13 pm Post #5 - November 3rd, 2005, 7:13 pm
    Erik M. wrote:What? You've never tried natto?

    Erik,

    Great link, I love the third picture.

    This brings to mind the natto theme meal I keep threatening to setup with Haruko at Katsu. Haruko, who loves natto to a degree that her eyes light up at the mere mention, and I have kicked the idea around 3-4 times. Her thought is 4-5 natto themed dishes from traditional to one of her favorite snacks, natto sauteed in olive oil, wrapped in butter lettuce and eaten with a sprinkle of soyu.

    The dinner will not be solely comprised of natto, how can one go to Katsu and not have their pristine sashimi, but we will most certainly get our natto on. :)

    I was thinking 10-12 people max, if there is sufficient interest I will give Haruko at Katsu a call and set up an LTHForum Natto Dinner.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - November 3rd, 2005, 8:29 pm
    Post #6 - November 3rd, 2005, 8:29 pm Post #6 - November 3rd, 2005, 8:29 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    Erik M. wrote:What? You've never tried natto?

    I was thinking 10-12 people max, if there is sufficient interest I will give Haruko at Katsu a call and set up an LTHForum Natto Dinner.


    My camera and I would like to attend.

    Sign us up.

    E.M.
  • Post #7 - November 4th, 2005, 8:08 am
    Post #7 - November 4th, 2005, 8:08 am Post #7 - November 4th, 2005, 8:08 am
    I, however, will not be in attendance. I'll be sulking in a corner somewhere, comforting myself with a nice, ripe Epoisses.
    CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
    -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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  • Post #8 - November 4th, 2005, 8:32 am
    Post #8 - November 4th, 2005, 8:32 am Post #8 - November 4th, 2005, 8:32 am
    Erik M. wrote:My camera and I would like to attend.

    Erik,

    Great, that makes three so far, you, me and Ellen. A few more and I'll give Haruko a call to discuss menu/date, then put it up on the events board.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - November 4th, 2005, 9:01 am
    Post #9 - November 4th, 2005, 9:01 am Post #9 - November 4th, 2005, 9:01 am
    Natto is pretty interesting. I've only tried it two ways - in a natto temaki and over steamed rice for breakfast (it'll get you up and going). The gooey sticky visual is probably more off putting (for those who are squeamish) than anyything else. Then again, I'm fond of blue cheese...

    A natto dinner sounds intriguing.
  • Post #10 - November 4th, 2005, 9:24 am
    Post #10 - November 4th, 2005, 9:24 am Post #10 - November 4th, 2005, 9:24 am
    Then again, I'm fond of blue cheese...


    OK -- time to dispel the myth. There is absolutely no correlation between enjoying natto and enjoying blue cheese.

    If there were actually a relationship, then the Japanese (at least those from places where natto is heavily consumed) would also be blue cheese consumers. But as it turns out, Japanese generally do not like blue cheese at all and the interest in blue cheese in Japan is quite limited - although increasing in recent years (you can find blue cheese dressing now, and some cheese shops carry some classic blues).

    Chemically the flavors are not related, and the textures most certainly have no similarity.

    The DK guide/bible, "French Cheeses" was written for the Japanese market by two Japanese (and photographed by a third) who were criticized outside of Japan for leaving out cheeses not to the taste of Japanese consumers - a number of washed rind cheeses and most of the blues. The current edition has filled in these gaps, so if you were to purchase the book, yes, there would be fine descriptions of Gex, Causses, Termignon, etc. in addition to Roquefort, Fourme d'Ambert, and bleu d'Auvergne.

    Enjoy your natto.
    CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
    -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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  • Post #11 - November 4th, 2005, 9:35 am
    Post #11 - November 4th, 2005, 9:35 am Post #11 - November 4th, 2005, 9:35 am
    I certainly wasn't suggesting any direct relationship-- just that they're at about the same place on a scale of foods that take something perfectly tolerable if bland and letting it rot and get gross in particularly vivid ways to become something much more complex and potentially wonderful, if you can get over the repulsive part.
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  • Post #12 - November 4th, 2005, 9:58 am
    Post #12 - November 4th, 2005, 9:58 am Post #12 - November 4th, 2005, 9:58 am
    The texture of natto doesn't put me off. It's the taste. It's right up there with Vegemite and Marmite and the salted dregs of beer that's been sitting in the sun for a week. (And I'm not much for beer when it's fresh.)
  • Post #13 - November 4th, 2005, 10:00 am
    Post #13 - November 4th, 2005, 10:00 am Post #13 - November 4th, 2005, 10:00 am
    Queijo wrote:
    Then again, I'm fond of blue cheese...


    OK -- time to dispel the myth. There is absolutely no correlation between enjoying natto and enjoying blue cheese.


    No direct correlation implied - just what (personal) preferences came up on this thread.

    Frankly there's non blue cheeses that have greater olfactory impact.
    Speaking of which I wonder how the film has affected Stinking bishop (which I've never heard of till recently)
  • Post #14 - November 4th, 2005, 10:06 am
    Post #14 - November 4th, 2005, 10:06 am Post #14 - November 4th, 2005, 10:06 am
    hence my mention of washed rind cheeses, above.

    Charles Martell, who produces Stinking Bishop, was hit with record orders. He reported that he would not increase production to meet demand. There was a great piece on NPR about it right when the movie came out.

    Here's a good piece in the guardian: http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12589,1568641,00.html

    And here's a link to the NPR piece:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4950563

    but we digress
    CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
    -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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  • Post #15 - November 4th, 2005, 10:07 am
    Post #15 - November 4th, 2005, 10:07 am Post #15 - November 4th, 2005, 10:07 am
    sazerac wrote:Speaking of which I wonder how the film has affected Stinking bishop (which I've never heard of till recently)


    I dunno, but I was googling for "boudin noir" a few weeks ago and google offered me 3 results, within my 10 for "boudin noir", for "stinking bishop". I guess they think they're related. Why? I have no idea.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

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  • Post #16 - November 4th, 2005, 7:07 pm
    Post #16 - November 4th, 2005, 7:07 pm Post #16 - November 4th, 2005, 7:07 pm
    Scroll down to number 6 for more on natto
    http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/cat_steve_dont_eat_it.php
  • Post #17 - November 4th, 2005, 7:13 pm
    Post #17 - November 4th, 2005, 7:13 pm Post #17 - November 4th, 2005, 7:13 pm
    I especially like one of the only non-filthy comments:

    What I find most hilarious is that there is an expiration date on the package. What could they possibly expect to happen to the product on this date THAT HAS NOT ALREADY OCCURRED?!!!


    Gray furry mold, I guess. That only happens to blue cheese.
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  • Post #18 - November 4th, 2005, 9:04 pm
    Post #18 - November 4th, 2005, 9:04 pm Post #18 - November 4th, 2005, 9:04 pm
    I especially enjoyed a natto preparation I had at Katsu--natto, wrapped in wonton skin, and deep fried with a bit of spicy mustard on the side. A Japanese natto empanada if you will.

    I'd definitely be up for a natto dinner!

    trixie-pea
  • Post #19 - November 4th, 2005, 11:00 pm
    Post #19 - November 4th, 2005, 11:00 pm Post #19 - November 4th, 2005, 11:00 pm
    surprisingly... i rather like the aroma of natto (it's a cross between the flavor of soy sauce and tiparos to me), but my palate has to be in the mood for the rather odd texture combo. flavor wise, all the prepackaged styro brands that can be found in mitsuwa taste rather bland be lying the entrancing aroma.

    hmmmm... i'm getting a hankering for some umeboshi now... ^_^
  • Post #20 - June 17th, 2007, 12:10 am
    Post #20 - June 17th, 2007, 12:10 am Post #20 - June 17th, 2007, 12:10 am
    I'm glad I searched, as I was about to start a thread on natto, but figured someone might have beat me to it.

    I first heard of natto a few years ago in a healthfood magazine -- apparently, it cures everything short of death. That interested me in it, but the comment that no one liked it who wasn't Japanese was like throwing down the gauntlet. I had to try it.

    Well, the first sampling did not instantly make it my favorite thing on earth. It wasn't abhorrent, but it wasn't hugely pleasant. But then, I was eating it straight out of the container.

    Then I visited Japan. At a sushi place in Tokyo, they had natto sushi on the menu, so I got a plate. (This was one of those places where you just keep ordering, and then they count the number of plates.) In one bite, I knew the real purpose of natto -- like so many other really strong flavors, it needed to go with something.

    I'm somewhat short of being an addict, but I love mixing natto with rice, a little tamari, and a bit of mustard (usually included in the package of natto). Sometimes I add some chopped shallot. (I live alone, so I don't bother making sushi -- no one to impress -- I just imitate the proportions in a bowl.) It's a great snack or a quick, high-energy meal when I'm on deadline.

    The flavor is a bit complex -- I find that it varies somewhat by brand, but while most have that cheesiness aspect, some have a backnote of coffee. But when fixed up a bit, the flavor is a great complement to whatever else you've added to it.

    Anyone else tried it since this thread got started?
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

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  • Post #21 - June 17th, 2007, 6:55 am
    Post #21 - June 17th, 2007, 6:55 am Post #21 - June 17th, 2007, 6:55 am
    Cynthia, I'm glad you brought up this thread, since I was feeling kinda wierd after liking natto the first time I had it. Now I see that I am in good company with you, trixie-pea, sazerac, and Erik M., not to mention much of Japan. Of course, it was Gary and Katsu who introduced me to natto. The context could have something to do with my enjoyment: Lovely, peaceful Katsu Restaurant, a crowd of LTH-ers in sushi bliss mode, and crisp nori with perfect sushi rice. However, the thing I was surprised about is that the natto tasted exactly as I expected, though my only previous exposure to natto was from Iron Chef: Battle Natto.

    And LAZ, you have given me hope. The thing I like about natto is the taste you dislike, so I should like Marmite and Vegemite, too. That leaves emigration to Australia open to me, just in case. Though Australia's a long way away, I'd finally have my own LTH beat. One has to keep one's options open - in life as at the table.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #22 - June 17th, 2007, 8:53 am
    Post #22 - June 17th, 2007, 8:53 am Post #22 - June 17th, 2007, 8:53 am
    This is something my wife absolutely loves, often savors privately when I'm on call, and which she cannot convince me to try... ever...

    I'm pretty game on eating most anything, and having been brought up in an Asian household, have eaten some pretty interesting animal parts (ovaries of mountain snow toads anyone?), mollusks, herbs, etc. but natto... no thanks... otherwise I absolutely ADORE the soybean and its myriad preparations.
  • Post #23 - June 17th, 2007, 11:55 am
    Post #23 - June 17th, 2007, 11:55 am Post #23 - June 17th, 2007, 11:55 am
    There is not much I won't eat, but at the top of that small list, in big capital letters, is NATTO. It reminds me of the slime hanging off of the monster that stares down Sigourney Weaver in Alien. I tried it a few times during 18 months in Japan and couldn't stomach it. What amazes me is that there are so many delicous things to do with soy beans, why would anyone bother to create such a thing. And once created, surely by accident, why perpetuate it? Just let it die a slow death by fermentation.

    Of course most of my Japanese hosts enjoyed, or at least tolerated the stuff, but I just scratch my head. It must have some appeal, but I don't get it. Then again, more than half a million people paid good money for Paris Hilton's first album, so there's a lot in this world that I don't understand.

    Give me your Offal. Give me your pig ears and chicken feet. Give me your raw horse meat (Horse sushi the call it in Kyoto.) But I'll leave the Natto to someone else.
  • Post #24 - June 17th, 2007, 1:24 pm
    Post #24 - June 17th, 2007, 1:24 pm Post #24 - June 17th, 2007, 1:24 pm
    wak wrote:
    Give me your Offal. But I'll leave the Natto to someone else.


    Proving once again that a lot in life is a matter of taste -- a chacun son goute -- because I enjoy natto but thin offal is, well, awful.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

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  • Post #25 - April 29th, 2008, 5:51 pm
    Post #25 - April 29th, 2008, 5:51 pm Post #25 - April 29th, 2008, 5:51 pm
    OK all you natto lovers out there. Time to resurrect this thread. I’m a self proclaimed nattophile. In fact I make my own by the gallon on a bimonthly basis. It’s very simple to do actually. I can’t seem to find the best recipe/instructions on the internet, so I’ll post my own recipe. I’ve done a lot of trial and error and think I have a pretty failsafe method.

    Here’s how I do it:

    Before starting you need to keep everything nearby very clean, we don’t want to introduce any foreign bacteria to the mix. Bleach or boil every utensil that may touch your beans.

    1. Buy a couple packages of Styrofoamed natto. Actually I bought 5 or 6 different kinds from Chicago Food Corp 3333 W. Kimball. I taste tested them and picked my favorite. They’re always in the frozen section.

    2. Then you pressure steam (or steam) the soybeans. I use pressure steaming because that takes 1 hour vs. 6 or more hours. Steaming is only important for flavor, you may boil them and the natto will ferment, but you may lose some beany taste. It’s important to let the beans get soft enough to smash easily between your fingers. Don’t worry about going too soft, the texture firms up a bit when they cool. They need to be soft so the bacteria can travel to the inner bean. Mmm.. bacteria..

    3. Let your beans cool just a little, they don’t have to cool all the way because natto bacillus is very strong and can live through near boiling temps. Then you add a couple packages to your natto that you bought frozen. I’d say I use one Styrofoam pack per 4 cups of dry beans. It’s important also not to use too many already fermented beans as the bacteria will breed too fast and kill each other (I think this is what happens). I’m not sure that is exactly how or why but I’ve screwed it up a couple of times by adding too many. So err on the side of less if you’re not sure. You’ll know if your natto is screwed up, it will smell sour. If it smells like natto, or like natto with a little ammonia then it’s fine. (we’ll get to the ammonia smell later)

    4. Ok so you’ve mixed it well. Now cover it with something that lets air in (foil or plastic wrap with holes poked into it). Now put the container in a warm place for roughly 24 to 48 hours. I put mine in the oven with a food dehydrator element that regulates the temp to around 98 degrees. You don’t have to be as exact. You can use a light bulb in the oven or keep it on a very low temp (if your oven goes down to 100 that would be good). With my oven between 98 and 103 it only takes 24 hours for my natto to come out perfectly sticky and stinky.

    5. Now that It’s all gooey it may smell somewhat like ammonia. This is normal I usually keep it in the fridge for a week after I make it to let the flavors settle in and the ammonia to evaporate. I repeat, if it smells sour, something went wrong. The sour smell is obviously bad if you’re unsure, it’s probably just ammonia and you need to wait it out. After the natto has sat for a week or 2 in your fridge you can bag it into single or weekly serving sizes and freeze them. The bacteria survives the freezer so don’t worry.

    Now, if anyone has any suggestions as to what they put in the soysauce packets that come with prepackaged natto, or where to get that mustard, let me know! I’m pretty sure the soy sauce packet has some kind of dashi mixed in, but I can never get it to taste so flavorful. The mustard is something like a mix between spicy mustard and regular yellow. But I can’t seem to find the right brand anywhere either.

    Not sure if this thread belongs here on the natto thread or in the recipe section. Mods, feel free to move it, or duplicate it if need be.
  • Post #26 - April 29th, 2008, 6:54 pm
    Post #26 - April 29th, 2008, 6:54 pm Post #26 - April 29th, 2008, 6:54 pm
    oh wait.. this is in the cooking thread. haha
  • Post #27 - April 29th, 2008, 6:54 pm
    Post #27 - April 29th, 2008, 6:54 pm Post #27 - April 29th, 2008, 6:54 pm
    Boy -- I'm impressed. I usually have a few little styrofoam packages of natto in the fridge, but I never even thought about trying to make it myself. Does your natto take on the flavor of whichever brand you use as starter? Or, as often happens with yogurt, do you find you get a slightly altered flavor?

    As for the mustard, I think it's pretty similar to Chinese mustard -- very hot, so you just need a bit. I only recently came across a brand that included the soy sauce, as well as the mustard. It was flavorful, and makes me wonder if it's more like a good dumpling dipping sauce. I will say that, with that added sauce, I don't feel I need to "muffle" the natto with rice -- I can just polish off the container as is.

    And where do you get your soy beans? Asian grocery store? Dry or fresh?

    Thanks.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #28 - April 29th, 2008, 7:24 pm
    Post #28 - April 29th, 2008, 7:24 pm Post #28 - April 29th, 2008, 7:24 pm
    I think the flavor is more or less the same as whatever package of natto you use, which is why it's important to use a brand you like. It may stray a bit in strength of flavor depending on when you stop the fermentation process. Also the bean type probably matters a lot.

    I’m from Indiana and visit often, I know a couple farmers there, so I actually have a literal bushel of dried soybeans which I got from a farmer in Indiana. If you want any, feel free to PM me and I’d be happy to give you some, a bushel is quite a load to store, and I don’t know if I’ll go through it before they get old. I actually bought for comparison some organic dried soybeans from a reputable source online, and I actually prefer the other ones I have, they seem to have more flavor. My next plan is to see if the same farmer can get any hutlacoche, aka corn smutn ext time he’s doing corn in his rotation.
  • Post #29 - December 29th, 2008, 1:38 pm
    Post #29 - December 29th, 2008, 1:38 pm Post #29 - December 29th, 2008, 1:38 pm
    sazerac wrote:Speaking of which I wonder how the film has affected Stinking bishop (which I've never heard of till recently)


    I just found this recently at Woodmans in Carpentersville. Something like $28 per pound! I've yet to try it. I'd have to take out another mortgage even for a small piece.

    In fact, I haven't noticed that any of their supply has been purchased yet, so I guess no one else is willing to pay that for a piece of cheese, regardless of the movie.

    Years ago we tried some Wensleydale, and found it rather bland and uninteresting. So much for the Wallace and Gromit Cheese Shop. I guess I'll have to go back to the moon for the good stuff.
  • Post #30 - July 28th, 2020, 6:20 am
    Post #30 - July 28th, 2020, 6:20 am Post #30 - July 28th, 2020, 6:20 am
    The Japanese have long hailed natto as a superfood – but its ammonia-like smell and mucus-like consistency make the fermented soybean dish a turnoff for many.

    http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/2020072 ... or=ES-213-[BBC%20News%20Newsletter]-2020July28-[travel]
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard

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