Natto is one of my favorite probiotic foods, but sadly not all my friends share the same taste. It has a distinctive pungent smell and an equally unique flavor not found in other foods. The beans are sticky and when whipped it turns slippery and even slimy in the mouth and everywhere for that matter.
I was once preparing natto for a well-known international Japanese chef, and he walked over and said, well done, the neggi helps to activate the natto, and I said right. While I am not sure that’s true or not, it’s probably folklore, but now I always add it.
In the last few decades, there has been a lot of interest in probiotic supplements and foods, suggesting that friendly bacteria helps treat or prevent an array of health problems, from indigestion and diarrhea to irritable bowel syndrome and chronic inflammation.
When we ingest more of these friendly organisms like lactobacillus acidophilus, they help to control the amount of harmful bacteria in our gut and prevent them from growing out of control. So when you see the foaminess in my natto, think what comes along with it.
The raw egg’s the reaction between the natto and the neggi helps it become creamy by adding some liquid named mentsuyu, which helps to invigorate all the ingredients.
Natty is one of our favourite foods and has received attention because of its natural enzyme, Nattokinase, discovered in 1980’s. This natural agent is said to successfully dissolve blood clots associated with heart attacks and strokes, as well to help control the gut. It works by breaking down fibrin, a protein which can lead to heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and slow tissue repair when present in excess.
While the latter has less proof it is believed that the natto’s fermented soybeans contain the bacterial strainbacillus subtilis which gives most of what is needed in terms of probiotics. This also is seen by the characteristic stringy consistency and definite aroma of fermented soybeans. This characteristic aroma is due to Pyridine which is similar to the bacterial surfaces in aging cheese found in Brie for example.
In fact Pyridine is noticeable to most wine enthusiasts who instantly recognise the smell and taste of sauvignon blanc through the presence of pyrazine. It is an important component of many fruits and vegetables such as in fresh bell pepper, green asparagus and beetroot.
Natto @ USA: http://www.meguminatto.com/products.html