One of our most popular menu items is our Green Curry Shrimp. And it’s easy to see why. It’s rich, creamy, spicy, and full of colorful veggies. I am a firm believer though that vegetarians deserve to get in on the fun too, and that’s read more
Today we’re really going to put the funky in Funky Asian Kitchen. Okra Natto is a mashup I made from two beloved Japanese dishes. It’s an acquired taste for sure, but we wouldn’t be living up to our name if we didn’t challenge you on occasion, right? Natto are fermented soy beans that have a strong, sharp smell-like one of France’s stinky cheeses, or like a really good fish sauce. And then there’s the consistency, which can generally be described as slimy. So why should you acquire this taste? Natto is a superfood with an impressive array of nutrients and health benefits. It’s good for bone health, digestion, and even helps lower blood pressure. Many people in Japan eat it because they believe it purifies the blood, helping with circulation. It’s no secret that Japanese people enjoy a significantly higher life expectancy, and I’m sure this Okra Natto dish has something to do with it.
So why the Okra? I really love Okra, and you can see I have no problem with slimy foods. It’s very popular in Japan (a country of slime lovers), often popping up in salads, simple side dishes, or as a beautiful garnish for plates. A lot of cooks will try to persuade you that okra is not that slimy or come up with dishes that fight to reduce the slime factor. Not me! I say why try to turn something into something else it’s not. Embrace the slime. Seriously though, I think the slight crunch and appealing color of okra play well with the natto. So if you’re game, this Okra Natto side dish may just be your next food discovery.
Making Okra Natto
This is a very fast dish, and so easy to whip up when you want something nourishing. Look for packages of natto in the tofu section of an Asian market. It is traditional to serve it with mustard and soy sauce seasoning, so many brands will come with little packets of them. You can discard them or use them to garnish your bowl of Okra Natto. I start this recipe by quickly blanching the okra.
If you want to make this vegan, you can omit the katsuobushi. You can use the mustard and the seasoning packet too as an additional garnish. I like to serve this with soy sauce on the side.
I hope you give Okra Natto a try; this recipe is so simple and nourishing! Please take a moment to let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 package natto (fermented soybeans)
- 6 ounces fresh okra
- 1 tablespoon minced scallion
- 2 pinches of katsuobushi (smoked bonito flakes)*
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt (for blanching okra)
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and the okra and boil for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under running water for a couple of seconds. Set the okra on a cutting board.
- Trim the ends off of the okra and discard. Then cut the okra into thin slices. Divide the okra into two small bowls.
- Top each bowl of okra with half of the natto packet. (You can discard the sauce and mustard or use it to top the bowls.
- Top the natto with the scallions and the katsuobushi. Serve immediately with soy sauce on the side.
*To make this vegan, omit the smoked bonito flakes.
Keywords: natto, okra, healthy, fermented, soy beans
These cold Peanut Noodles and summer are a perfect match. They are topped with cooling, crunchy veggies, and the peanut sauce is hands down the best you’ve ever had. Both the sauce and the noodles can be prepped the day before, which makes these peanut noodles a great option on the hot and lazy days of summer. Make a batch and take them to the beach, a picnic, or bbq!
Peanut Noodles Sauce
There are so many peanut sauces that are bland, or so sweet they could be a peanut butter cookie. Well, not this one! The secret is using actual peanuts, not just peanut butter. Frying them takes just a few minutes, and the difference will blow you away. Rich, peanutty goodness.
The sauce can last up to 5 days in the fridge. You can use any extra with grilled meats or as a dipping sauce for veggies… provided you don’t just eat it all with a spoon.
The Peanut Noodles Veggies
These peanut noodles are topped with so many fresh veggies, why it’s practically a salad! I officially give you permission to tell yourself that. I like to slice them into thin strips so they can twirl around my fork with the noodles. I like to prep them the day before so they are nice and cold.
I put all the julienned veggies on a plate, and the cilantro and scallions in a small bowl, cover them both with wrap, and keep them in the fridge until I make the noodles.
Finishing Peanut Noodles
You can use any long straight noodles, I used spaghetti here. But bucatini, linguini, or thin Shanghai noodles would work well too. Just cook according to package directions.
Toss the noodles with the sauce; be generous! Now it’s time to take out all your beautifully chopped veggies and assemble your peanut noodles.
Sprinkle the reserved chopped peanuts on top, and I like to serve with extra sauce on the side.
I hope you enjoy digging into these peanut noodles all summer long; I know we do! Please take a moment to let me know what you think of them; rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen. We love seeing your creations! And if you are noodleholic like I am, check out these popular recipes:
- 1 ¾ cups peanuts
- 1 cup neutral oil
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons sriracha
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ cup water
For the Noodles:
- 1 pound thin shanghai noodles, 1 pound thin spaghetti, or really any straight noodle
- ½ english cucumber
- 1 large carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 3 scallions
- ¼ bunch cilantro (about ½ cup)
Make the Peanut Sauce:
- Place the peanuts in a medium skillet and cover with the oil. Place the pan over medium heat and toast the peanuts in oil for 5-8 minutes until they are a medium tan color.
- Take the pan off the heat and then strain the peanuts out with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and set aside.
- Cool the nuts and the oil to room temperature. Set aside ¼ cup of the peanuts for garnish.
- Place the peanuts, ½ cup of the frying oil, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sriracha, salt, peanut butter, sesame oil, and water in a blender cup.
- Blend until smooth.
- The sauce should be thick and creamy like mayonnaise. If it seems too thick, add a little water until you have the right consistency. The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 5 days. Let the sauce warm on the counter for 10 minutes and then stir well when ready to use.
Prep the vegetables:
- Cut the cucumber into 2 inch logs. Slice each cucumber log lengthwise. Then stack the slices and cut across them to create ¼ inch strips. Set aside on a plate.
- Peel the carrot and slice thinly on the bias. Stack the carrot slices and cut across them again to create ¼ inch strips. Set next to the cucumber.
- Cut the red pepper in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the peppers into ¼ inch strips. Put onto the same plate with the other veggies.
- Wash and trim the scallions. Cut thinly and set aside on a small plate. Wash and chop the cilantro and put them on the same plate as the scallions.
- Set both plates, covered in plastic wrap, in the fridge until ready to use. Veggies can be prepped the day before.
Prepare the noodles:
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions.
- Drain under cool running water in a colander. Let the water drain and then shake the colander a couple of times to drain the remaining water.
- Put the noodles in a bowl and top with 1 ½ cups of sauce. Mix the noodles with the sauce until the noodles are evenly coated.
- Separate the noodles into four separate serving bowls. (You can also make one large platter and share at the table.)
- Evenly divide the vegetables on top of the noodles and then garnish with the peanuts, scallions, and cilantro.
- Serve peanut noodles with extra sauce on the side.
*Extra sauce can be used to top grilled meats or used as a dipping sauce for cut veggies.
Keywords: peanut noodles, sriracha, vegan, vegetarian, noodle bowls,