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