Hoshi Natto: Healthy Dried Fermented Soybean Snack
Natto (納豆) is a superfood made from fermented soybeans packed with nutrients. But it has a slimy consistency and an unpleasant smell, because of which many people can’t eat it.
In Japan, Mito, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture, is the top producer, and it has a specialty made of Natto called Hoshi Natto (干し納豆: meaning Dried Natto), about which I will talk today.
Hoshi Natto (干し納豆: Dried Natto)
The dry Natto, Hoshi Natto, is made of Natto coated with salt and wheat flour/Katakuriko flour (Japanese potato starch) dried in the sun.
The dried Natto is less smelly than regular Natto and has almost no stickiness. So even those who hate fresh Natto can enjoy it.
It is a snack with a salty, savory taste, featuring its pleasantly chewy texture.
In Japan, Hoshi Natto is favored as an Otsumami, going well with alcoholic drinks such as sake and beer.
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As with regular Natto, Hoshi Natto is nutritious, and the good news is that the Natto bacteria, Bacillus subtilis var. natto, is still alive in it.
The Natto snack is a wholesome food with various health benefits, and in several respects, it is superior to fresh Natto.
- Drying Natto under the sun increases the savory taste and nutritional value and lengthens the expiration date.
- The dried soybean generally contains about 1.5 times the potassium, 1.8 times the iron, and twice the zinc compared to fresh Natto. Also, it is richer in minerals.
How to Eat/Uses
Hoshi Natto is a casual snack enjoyed in various ways, and here are some examples.
As the dried Natto snack is umami-rich and moderately salty, some people like to use it as a Furikake, sprinkling over a warm bowl of white rice.
The dried beans can be a good garnish for Ochazuke like this. O-Chazuke is a Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of plain rice soaked in hot green tea or a broth, typically garnished with salty or savory toppings.
Hoshi Natto is almost neither sticky nor slimy. So the beans can be a good topping in various dishes, including salads, curry, pasta, and pizza.