Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fried tofu with spiced nattou

I can`t believe I haven`t made any post on nattou and I just came to realize that it`s been months since I had my last nattou!
Alright. This is not easy for me to write about a certain food, which is not quite an eater-friendly one. Most of non-Japanese and even some Japanese people I know think of nattou as a super duper healthy fermented soybean product yet with an unattractive looking and unpleasant smell. Weirdly (and luckily!), I have no problem with nattou. Since the beginning. Whatsoever.
Nattou does smell, but for my nose, it`s definitely not stinky. It`s just not an appetizing one. Believe me, I know what stinky is like. I work with animals and don`t get me started with that.
If there`s one thing that bothers me about nattou, it`s only the messiness, especially when I get careless during eating it. That`s it. I am simply a fan of nattou.

So, the day I realized that it`s been too long for not having nattou, I headed to the store and got this 3-individual pack set of nattou home.

This is what each pack usually contains of: the nattou itself, a slightly sweet soy sauce, and mustard.

Dump the nattou into a mixing bowl. Yes, in case you never saw nattou before, have a nice long looking at the beans now. Look how each bean is covered and glued with a slimy and sticky thread.

Time to spice it up! I omit the sauce from the pack because I don`t want the sweetness this time. I use the mustard, chilli powder, pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, and cardamom. Now, mix with a fork or chopsticks until blended well.

And until your nattou looks more slippery and slimier than ever. If you`re happy with the taste (and you`ve got to be happy, by the way), set it aside while we are preparing another thing.

Soybean pudding, everyone. Welcome the tofu. This is Soybean Day. When I was in the store, I had no idea what to do with the tofu. I just wanted tofu and nattou. Then, when I stood in my kitchen staring at these pieces, I just knew that I wanted to fry them. So, if you want to be more efficient, just buy the fried ones and heat them in a microwave instead. But if you end up with this kind of tofu like me, try squeezing out the water excess from the tofu surface with a kitchen paper. Do it gently, please.

Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu until both sides turn golden brown .

Now, place the spiced nattou you prepared earlier on the fried tofu, garnish with seaweed flakes (or green onion if you have) and sesame seeds.

Eating recommendation:
1. Hold the plate with one hand and chopsticks with your other hand. You want to have this food as close as possible to your mouth when eating it. Never put it back on the table without cutting off all the sticky threads from your mouth first. Trust me on this.
2. With a concern on No 1, do not let your hair touch any part near your mouth. Things will turn ugly. Speaking from experience, of course.
3. Do not eat this on your first date, unless your date is crazily in love with you. Trust me on this too.

I thought I was done with No 3, but here is another one.
4. When you start getting frustrated with it, google it, and you`ll find that you`re eating one of the healthiest food in this planet.

It`s a real good food, so ENJOY!

Soy sauce
Fish sauce
Chilli powder
Sesame oil
Fried tofu
Seaweed flakes
Sesame seed

p.s. He just wouldn`t eat it, so I happily finished the whole 3 packs by myself. My skin glowed the next day. His lost.


  1. i gave up on nattou after my first try, but your presentation is appealing. :)

  2. I'm so glad you posted this. I have never had nattou before but I bought it the other day and it's been in my freezer, waiting to be used. I have read about how many people do not like it. With me luck!

  3. @redwhitebride: I know you did. Give it another try! Or not, haha! :DDD

    @roxan: hi there! yes, I`m glad I did. You might want to start with the sauce provided inside your nattou pack. If you feel adventurous already, go crazy with whatever you have in your pantry :D Good luck!