Cooking with Anime by YumPenguinSnacks!
Well, well, well. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the creation of something so special, so obscure, it almost defies words. I mean...natto spaghetti. What do you say about such a thing? Let's start with what natto is in the first place. If you don't know, natto is a traditional Japanese dish made of fermented soy beans. It's got a very strong flavor- like soy sauce, but much stronger and a little...off. Something that is key about natto is how very, very sticky and stringy it is. Honestly, the more you stir it, the stickier and stringier and gooier it gets.
The first time I had natto was my first time in Japan, at the hotel where I was staying. They served it with breakfast, and, even though I had a bit of a cold, I decided to give it a try because, you know, why not? I don't remember being overwhelmed by it- probably because I couldn't taste much in the first place. But I remember thinking that people made it sound worse than it actually was. Fast forward to present day, and I kinda wish I had a cold again to eat this spaghetti. Natto has a very big flavor profile, in an almost overwhelming way. I defiinitely think it's better in small portions, and well portioned out over a neutral food item, like rice.
Natto is a traditional food in Japan, but that does not mean that everyone in Japan likes it. I've got a lot of Japanese friends who hate the stuff, and have met others who genuinely like it. I really think you have to have grown up eating natto, so that you get used to it. It's honestly a really weird texture and flavor. To be honest, it doesn't look all that great- kind of like gooey spider eggs. It's definitely a peculiar dish.
So, what's it good for? I mean, the people who like natto REALLY like natto. It's not bad, it just definitely takes some getting used to. It's is a great food for vegans and vegetarians, hence why the elves eat it in the episode of Restaurant to Another World. It is incredibly flavorful- I mean, soy sauce is an awesome seasoning, and natto stems from the same idea. They really taste quite similar, but natto an option with more protein and, you know, mouth-feel, since it's a food. If you learn how to cook with it, it's an easy and cheap way to introduce a lot of flavor to a simple meal. With pasta or rice, the intense saltiness of the beans is nicely cut. With a fresh, hot bowl of rice- that's the good stuff.
In this recipe, the natto is served very simply. Finely chopped, with its original sauces, over a bed of spaghetti. A little perilla and nori garnish, and the dish is all set. Definitely a western dish befitting the restaurant- served over spaghetti, the natto stars as both a protein and a sauce, doing double duty in the dish. The pasta is bland enough to offset the flavor of the natto, and with enough pasta, the natto doesn't become too overwhelming. Very easy to make, and definitely affordable. The question is...can you stomach the natto itself?!?
Watch the video below to learn how to make your own natto spaghetti!
Ingredients for the Natto Spaghetti:
Perilla Leaves (garnish)
1 Pack of Natto per person you are serving
Spaghetti, enough for each person you are serving
Nori Strips (garnish)
To Make the Natto Spaghetti:
1. Cut perilla leaves in a chiffonade and set aside.
2. Chop natto finely. Mix with sauces that come in the packet. Set aside.
3. Boil pasta. Reserve some pasta water.
4. Drain and dress with olive oil and salt.
5. Mix just a splash of reserved pasta water into chopped natto.
6. Serve up dish! Plate pasta, pour natto on top, garnish with perilla and nori strips.