Natto. The marmite of Japanese food. Either you love it or you hate it and it’s definitely one of the most unique Japanese meals you’ll come across. This fermented soybean dish can be recognised by its slimy texture, pungent smell and cheesy qualities. It’s also recognised for its health benefits, helping to improve digestion, potentially lowering blood pressure and promoting a healthier heart.
After trying it for the first time recently, I’ve fallen into the ‘I love Natto’ camp and see it as an extremely versatile ingredient. It was one of the main attractions in my natto breakfast bowl and here is the recipe.
Serves 1 for breakfast or lunch
Cooking time: 20 – 25 minutes
2 packs of pre-made natto
2 tbsps of vegetable oil
Two mugs of rice
Soy sauce (optional)
Nori seaweed sheets
- Fill a pan with water, put the rice in and boil for 15 minutes.
- While the rice is boiling, take out the natto from the packaging and put on a small plate. The bags I used came with soy sauce and mustard satchels, so leave aside for now.
- Drizzle vegetable oil onto a non-stick pan and fry egg for 5 minutes.
- Place natto in a microwave and blitz for between 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Drain rice into a colander and then transfer it into a bowl. Create a small ‘hole’ in the centre and place the egg within.
- Place natto on top of the egg and add soy sauce and mustard.
- Rip up nori sheets into smaller chunks and serve around the natto.
- Using the mustard and soy sauce are optional because the natto has a strong flavour profile on its own. I found adding mustard upped the savoury texture in the soybeans, so that will depend on your own preferences.
- When serving the rice, I originally transferred it into a small bowl and turned it upside down in the larger bowl. After letting it rest for five minutes this created a dome shape that made it easier for me to create an indent for the egg. Mostly done for aesthetic reasons!
Let me know if you try out this recipe at home and if you’d like more breakfast inspiration, check out this umami-packed porridge recipe as well!