Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Natto and Rice

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

* 200 to 250 grams cooked rice
* 50 grams natto (fermented soybeans)
* 1 teaspoon chopped green onion or chives
* soy sauce, to taste
* spicy mustard, to taste


Natto is a fermented soybean produce from Japan, where its health
benefits are widely known. It is high in calcium, vitamins B and K, and
soy isoflavines, and is proven to inhibit blood clotting, reducing the
risk of strokes or heart attacks. Some claim it fights cancer, aids
digestion, aids weight loss and lowers cholesterol, but scientific data
for these claims is debatable. Natto has a funky smell, but tastes
nutty and mildly pungent. If you liked pungent cheeses like bleu cheese
or brie before becoming vegan, then you might like natto. Natto also
has a weird sticky, stringy, slippery texture--this, plus the smell,
turn a lot of people off. But if you can develop a taste for it, you'll
find it addictive. It is available in the US at some Asian groceries.
Usually natto is sold in sets of 3 or 4 50-gram packages. I would
recommend asking your local health food store to order some. Because of
its benefits, it ought to be more widely distributed as a health food.

Here is one of the basic ways to consume natto in Japan: Open one
package of natto and mix in soy sauce and spicy mustard to taste. Some
natto packages come with a little packet of mustard and tare sauce,
which contains soy sauce and mirin (sweet sake). Finely chop a teaspoon
of green onions or chives and mix into the natto. Note that natto will
get more viscous and stringy the more you stir it. Put natto on top of
a bowl of steaming hot rice. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

Preparation time: 10 min. (if rice is already cooked)


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