This post is also available in: Indonesia
Updated July 2022
What is Natto?
Natto is fermented soybeans and is known as a traditional Japanese superfood that has high nutritional value. It goes great with rice and a little bit of shoyu as you can find Japanese have it, especially in the morning but don’t be surprised to find them sometimes also have it for lunch or dinner.
Natto is usually available in 3 pieces in a pack with sauce attached to each pack, and is easily found in supermarkets, convenience stores, and even food corners at some drugstores at incredibly cheap!
This superfood is sticky and stringy with a gooey texture, don’t miss to mention its unique strong pungent-like smell which somehow makes foreigners feel reluctant to try. However, natto contains abundant nutrition, rich in protein, vitamins such as vitamin B2, B6, and vitamin E, minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and more, according to Takano Foods Co., Ltd, one of Japan’s major soy product producers. The consumption of natto is believed to improve blood flow and reduced the risk of stroke.
Is Natto Halal?
Natto itself is fermented by Bacillus subtilis (natto-kin / natto bacteria) that break down proteins, which is different from other fermented foods that break down sugar to produce alcohol during the fermentation process. In short, the natto itself can be consumed by Muslims at ease.
However, what we should pay attention to is the sauce attached. Most of the natto sauce contains a very low percentage of alcohol. It doesn’t make consumers feel like getting drunk but is better to avoid it if you are worried or not sure about it.
In Japan, natto is widely consumed even by pregnant women and kids. According to Baby Calendar, Japan’s information site for pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare supervised by doctors and specialists mentioned that “alcohol content in seasonings is very small if any. In terms of natto, even children often eat it, so unless you eat it in large quantities every day, it is not thinkable that it will affect your baby very much. If you are worried about it, please refrain from taking it for a while”.
How to Enjoy Natto?
- Open the package (lid) and pull out the sauce and plastic film.
You might find the soybeans attached to the plastic film. To avoid it, pull out the sauce, hold the end of the plastic film, close the lid and pull the film while keeping the lid closed.
- Put the sauce to natto. Take a chopstick or a fork, move it circularly and mix. You will find the natto blends with the sauce and be slightly foamy.
Natto actually tastes nice with any sauce of your liking, from regular soy sauce to yakiniku sauce. You can challenge yourself to add a raw egg and a slight of soy sauce to enjoy it like a Japanese!