Natto Senbei: Rice Crackers with Fermented Soybeans
Made by fermenting steamed soybeans with natto bacteria, Natto is a superfood packed with nutrients but infamous for its unpleasant smell and slimy consistency.
However, we Japanese not only eat Natto as it is but also dry the fermented beans to make them a snack called Hoshi Natto (干し納豆).
By the way, the Senbei rice cracker I bought today has bits of Hoshi Natto, similar to Hikiwari Natto, scattered on the surface.
Natto Senbei (納豆せんべい)
The Senbei flecked with dried Natto flakes is called Natto Senbei (納豆せんべい). These crackers are brushed with sweet soy sauce and sprinkled with freeze-dry Natto flakes.
Drying Natto diminishes the stickiness and sliminess, making the beans pretty easy to eat.
When I opened the bag, a characteristic smell of Natto wafted out from the inside, but the Senbei itself was very savory and almost didn’t have the taste of Natto.
Although I haven’t tried the method yet, I think you can make Natto Senbei at home by combining these recipes (this and this) if you can prepare the fermented soybeans.