Natto "stinky'' soybean - Would you dare to try?
When talking about the cuisine of Japan, most people would think of exquisite sushi rolls, fresh sashimi, hot bowls of ramen and the list goes on.
And among those dishes, we cannot leave out a traditional yet unique color - the light brown color of Natto soybean, an intriguing dish that can trigger any food-lover interest.
"Natto" is composed of "Nat" (consume) and "To" (bean), meaning a dish made from fermented soybean.
After fermentation, the dish is light brown, viscous, sticky, and has a slightly brown color and a strong odor that is quite unpleasant for those who are not familiar with it.
However, according to Japanese people, the more viscous the beans are, the better and sweeter the natto is.
Similar to Vietnamese durians or Chinese stinky tofu, once you get used to this smell and taste, you will become "addicted" to this dish.
The history of Natto soybean
This dish is believed to be created by a soldier in the barracks of General Minamoto Yoshiie in the 1083s in northeastern Japan.
When the enemy struck, that soldier hid the boiled soybeans for horses in a straw bag and left it there for several days.
When he remembered to take the soybeans out, they were fermented and gave off a very strange aroma. However, after tasting it, the soldier got an unexpectedly delicious taste.
He immediately presented the food to General Yoshiie and the general was also attracted to the tasty dish. Since then, the dish gradually became popular to this day and became the quintessence of Japanese cuisine.
Just like anyone else, when trying it for the first time, I was so fascinated by the beautiful color of the dish that I imagined all kinds of tasty flavors would melt in my mouth when eating those "chubby" beans.
However, fantasy is far from reality. For someone who is afraid of smelly food, natto is not exactly a must-try dish.
The way I saw it, the dish was pretty viscous and had a strong odor. Still, I left my fear behind and tried it. Surprisingly, the fatty soybeans mixed with the sweet dashi and pungent wasabi just melted in my mouth, thus prompting me to try again and again. And now, I have become a "loyal fan" of Natto.
My favorite combination is hot rice mixed with Natto, with a raw chicken egg, some dashi, some wasabi, seaweed, and bonito flakes. Having a mouthful of this delicious dish makes me feel like I'm having the whole of Japan in my hand.
If you are having Natto for the first time, try having it with other foods to lessen the strong odor. You can have Natto with noodles, young tofu, hot rice, dried seaweed, or a little bit of dashi, etc.
Natto is special and popular not only for its origin but also for its nutritious values.
Natto has Nattokinase - an effective thrombolytic enzyme that is capable of dissolving blood clots, thus promoting cardiovascular health. Besides, this dish also contains necessary vitamins such as K1 and K2, which prevent and treat osteoporosis, slow bone loss due to old age, menopause, diabetes, or stroke.
Moreover, this fermented soybean also enhances digestion, improves the immune system, and provide a rich source of minerals for the body.
Is Natto unique, intriguing, and nutritious enough to trigger your appetite and curiosity?
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