Natto (Fermented Soybeans)Jump to Recipe
You’ve heard of baked beans for breakfast but did you know Japan has their own version called natto? You don’t have to travel all the way to Japan to try it though! Make it at home with this natto recipe.
What is Natto?
Natto is fermented soybeans that are commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan. The most traditional way of eating natto is with rice and a bowl of miso soup. Another way to eat it is by spreading it on toast! You can also enjoy natto as outside of breakfast. Eating natto on as a snack, or adding it to a salad or soup is also popular. Natto is so popular you can find ready to eat at most Asian grocery stores.
The origins of the natto are said to be co-developed in multiple locations since the recipe and the ingredients are so simple. There are two main origin stories related to the natto recipe. One is about Minamoto no Yoshiie, a samurai, while the other is about Prince Shotoku. Both involve the accidental invention of this recipe by leaving boiled soybeans in straw bags.
Health Benefits of Natto
The most distinct feature of natto soybeans is the white sticky slime that coats the beans. Don’t let this deter you from trying this natto recipe though! The sticky slime is actually the healthiest part of this recipe.
The sticky slime is a result of combining the soybeans with beneficial bacteria and letting it ferment for an extended period. The fermentation not only preserves the soybeans but give it’s signature earthy flavour. Each batch of natto can taste slightly different due to the slight differences in the fermentation process.
Natto is packed with protein. No wonder the Japanese like to start their mornings with it. Because it is also fermented, natto contains bacillus subtilis, a microorganism that may boost the good bacteria in your gut. It has a similar effect to drinking kombucha! It also has an abundant amount of fibre, vitamin K2 and has the potential to prevent blood clots.
Important Notes Before Making This Natto Recipe
Although this natto recipe is quite simple to make, there are a few important tips to remember before you start.
Make sure that all utensils, pots and other equipment being used are as sterile as possible during the entire process. This ensures that no other bacteria interfere with the fermentation process. You can easily sterilize them by boiling them in hot water for 5 minutes prior to using them.
The jar of natto spores will most likely come with a special small spoon. Use the small spoon to measure the appropriate quantity for this recipe. You can get natto spores at grocery stores that carry a variety of organic foods or easily order it online.
To get the best result, the soybeans need to be kept at about 100°F degrees for 22 to 24 hours. You can use the low-temperature setting on your stove or large cube-shaped food dehydrators. If your oven doesn’t enable a low-temperature setting, simply turn on the oven light. This should provide just enough heat for fermentation.
One last note. Natto can become quite smelly while it is fermenting. You may want to isolate it during this time but it is completely up to you.
- Cheesecloth or linen cloth
- Stainless steel or enamelled pot
- Large stainless steel spoon
- 3-4 oven-proof glass containers with lids
- 4 cups soybeans
- 2 tsp water boiled for 5-10 minutes o sterilize
- 1 spoonful Nattomoto powder use the special spoon that comes with the natto spores
- Rinse the soybeans before letting them soak for 24 hours. Make sure to have 3 times as much water since the soybeans will soak it up and expand.
- After soaking, drain the beans and put them in the large sterilized pot.
- Dissolve one special spoonful of the natto spores in 2 teaspoons of boiled water. Then pour the mixture over the soybeans and stir until well-mixed.
- Transfer the beans to the sterilized, oven-safe dishes. Spread the beans in a thin layer, no more than 1 inch high. If you drop any of the beans, discard them so that they do not contaminate the other beans.
- Place the sterilized linen cloth or cheesecloth over the dishes, and secure the lids over the cloth and the dish.
- Put the dishes in the oven and set at a temperature of 100°F. If your oven doesn’t enable a low-temperature setting, simply turn on the oven light. After a short while, use a thermometer to check the temperature in the oven. If it isn’t warm enough, you can try adding a small, battery-operated work lamp to bring up the heat.
- Let the soybeans ferment for 24 hours before removing them from the oven. Allow them to cool and then remove the cloth. They should be ready to eat or you can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!