Hoshi Natto: Healthy Fermented Dried Soybean Snack
Although “Natto (納豆)” is famous as a superfood packed with nutrients, in addition to having an unpleasant smell, since the fermented soybean features a slimy, sticky consistency, many people can’t eat it.
In Japan, Mito, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture, is a large producer of Natto. Actually, the city, Mito has a specialty made of natto, about which I will talk this time.
Hoshi Natto (干し納豆: Dried Natto)
It is called “Hoshi Natto (ほし納豆: literally Dried Natto)”, and the dry natto beans are made of natto that has been coated with salt and wheat flour/Katakuriko flour (Japanese potato starch) and then dried in the sun.
The dried natto, Hoshi Natto is not only less smelly than ordinary natto but also has almost no sliminess, so even those who can’t eat fresh natto can enjoy Hoshi Natto.
With a somewhat salty, savory taste and a pleasantly chewy texture, in Japan, Hoshi Natto is favored as a snack to go with alcoholic drinks like sake and beer. Also, since the dried natto is rich in nutrients, it is recommended as a treat for children.
As with regular fresh natto, Hoshi Natto is a nutritious, wholesome food with various health benefits, and in some points, the dried natto is superior to ordinary natto.
- By drying in the sun, the savory taste and nutritional value of natto are increased. Besides, compared to regular natto, Hoshi Natto can be preserved for a long time.
- It is generally said that Hoshi Natto has about 1.5 times the potassium, 1.8 times the iron, and twice the zinc that fresh natto beans contain. What is more, the total amount of minerals contained in Hoshi Natto is also larger than ordinary natto.
- Even if natto is dried in the sun, the natto bacteria “Bacillus subtilis var. natto” that brings various health benefits doesn’t die.
How to Eat (Uses)
Hoshi Natto is a casual snack that can be eaten as it is, and can be enjoyed in various ways. And here are some examples.
As a Furikake
Since Hoshi Natto is umami-rich and moderately salty, it is sometimes used as a Furikake rice seasoning. As for usage, simply sprinkle the dry natto beans over a hot bowl of white rice and enjoy!
Hoshi Natto can be a good garnish for Ochazuke, like this. By the way, Ochazuke is a common Japanese comfort food consisting of a hot bowl of plain rice that has been soaked in tea or soup and garnished with salty or savory toppings.
As a Topping
Hoshi Natto is almost neither sticky nor slimy, so the dried natto beans are sometimes used as a topping, for example, in salads, curry, pasta, pizza, or the like.