There’s absolutely no doubt that smell is a very essential factor in food experience, and I often find surprising that there exists a lot of food in which their smell can be almost too intense to be food. For instance, blue cheese – some of my friends say they could never enjoy eating it because of its smell. And I’m no exception when it comes down to a few unique food from different culture, such as Taiwanese stinky tofu. (I can’t help thinking that must be what BO tastes like…) I guess we generally process fermented or smelly food as alarming stuff to eat, of course unless it’s publicly recognised and known to be edible, like cheese or fruits like a durian.
In Japanese food, we do have a range of stinky food as well. (btw, these days it’s popularly accepted, but I remember that Miso (Fermented soybean paste) used to be treated as ‘exotic smelly food from Japan’) But the most popular stinky food from Japan must be Natto (Fermented soybean) Not only its smell (which is often referred as dirty socks..), how you eat is rather interesting. It’s so sticky and gooey that it produces sticky spider-web like strings as you mix – The more you mix, the stickier it gets. Natto is usually mixed with soy sauce and chopped spring onion, and pour over steamed rice.
So today, I bought a few pack of Natto from Japanese grocery shop and make something with it. I assume many of you would not like Natto, but there’re some recipes that reduce the smell of Natto yet bring out other flavour. To be honest, I’m not particularly a big fan of Natto – though I can eat. But I find myself enjoying it in this dish. Natto fried rice!
1 Natto pack
Chopped spring onion
Steamed rice (Preferably not freshly cooked one. Leftover rice is better in fact.)
With a little bit of olive oil in the pan, place natto and stir fry until slightly brown. Natto shouldn’t be pre-mix nor seasoned with soy sauce. Add chopped spring onion and rice, and continue to stir fry. When the rice grains are no longer sticking each other, add soy sauce right before you take the pan off the stove and evenly distribute.
How simple is that?
I’m not going to lie, it still got the Natto smell but much less intense. stirfrying Natto actually cuts down alot of stickiness and makes the flavour more mellow & milder. I know Natto is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are “i’ve tried it before, not my favourite but I can eat.” type of person, you might enjoy this little easy & simple dish.
I just need to remember to open my window when I cook Natto though. ;p