Don't we all have that certain staple food, drink or condiment in our lives that is devastating when it cannot be found in the kitchen? For some, it is Sriracha, or cream for their morning coffee. Or a cold can of beer. For Johnny, it's Kashi cereal (GMO-free only) or Mountain High plain yogurt. For me, it's natto. I love natto -- I eat a pack a day, usually for breakfast. And there is nothing that will put me in a fouler mood than waking up to a fridge without any natto in it.
Hideko recently went to Japan and brought me back the awesomest omiyage (present) in the world.
Nattongs! OR Nattongs! Get it?
There was a big natto craze in Japan about ten years ago. They started coming out with all these different methods and kitchen gadgets to properly 'stir' natto. There was this two-pronged plastic tool for natto-stirring that my aunt used, like this. My mom has coveted one of these for years, but wouldn't you know it, the natto craze was over in a blink of an eye (like most trends in Japan) and the two-pronged natto-stirring miracle tool is now nowhere to be found.
But wait! On this last trip, my cousin Taito found these handy Natt-ongs for Hideko.
During the natto craze, there were all these scientific studies that informed the masses about how good natto was for the body, and said that one must stir natto up to 100 times in order to bring out all the enzymes and nutrients in these magical fermented soybeans. A-HA! Here's where the Natt-ongs come in. The grooves in the plastic tongs work to agitate the natto to create a more vigorous froth when stirring. Scientists said it is the froth that is what is most beneficial for health. Like this!
I personally don't have the patience to stir natto 100 times, but I do it until it creates a nice foaminess. Then, add the seasoned soy sauce and mustard.
Here's my most recent breakfast: natto bibimbap!
Enjoy all the benefits of fermentation, bad breath and good health in one bowl. Cheers!