Natto! Japan's polarising superfood of fermented soybeans.

Natto is fermented soybeans, specifically fermented with Bacillus subtilis, which forms the stringy, strong smelling and interesting-tasting Japanese staple food. It is often eaten as part of the Japanese breakfast together with miso soup, fish and rice.

Natto is super nutritious. It contains good levels of many nutrients that are important for health including manganese, iron, copper, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin C, potassium, zinc & selenium. A 100g portion contains 19g of protein, 5g of fibre & 11g fat. Natto is especially nutritious because fermentation promotes the growth of probiotics.

Nattokinase is an enzyme produced specifically in natto, and is believed to thin the blood and reduce the chances of blood clots, which can be beneficial for those with cardiovascular disease.

Traditionally, natto was made by wrapping boiled soybeans in rice straw, which naturally contains the bacteria Bacillus subtilis on its surface. Doing so allowed the bacteria to ferment the sugars present in the beans, eventually producing natto.

Rice straw was abundant in ancient Japan. In the Nara and Heian periods, more than a 1,000 years ago, it became fashionable to wrap food in rice straw for transportation. Some claim that that is the origin of natto. Someone intended to present someone with a present of boiled soy beans - but during transport the beans turned into natto.

Another tale tells of an army going to Tohoku in Heian times, fighting local lords. The soldiers were boiling soy beans when they were attacked. They wrapped the beans into rice straw.
When they opened it days later, the beans had fermented. The soldiers ate them anyway and liked them. So did their leader when presented with the beans.

See the video below for how to serve Natto as a meal. 
In Sydney Australia we love using Dai's Natto. Love that Dai's Natto uses non GMO beans, eco friendly packaging & it's made traditionally with only 2 ingredients, Australian Soybeans & Japanese Natto Starter. They have an organic option that uses large beans from NSW, all small batch handmade in Sydney.