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Whether you want to try a stringy, viscous mass from fermented soy beans? Most likely, no! But natto, steamed and then passed the process of fermentation of soybeans, is a popular Japanese food. According to some estimates, each year more than 110 thousand tons of soy beans is used to produce 220 thousand tons of natto.
JAPANESE legend says that about a thousand years ago a warrior named Minamoto Yoshie found boiled soybeans. They were left on the rice straw and ferment. He tried them, and so natto was discovered. It is believed that by the end of the Edo period (1603-1867) in some areas of the country, natto has become an integral part of Japanese cuisine.
How to prepare natto? In the past, bundles of rice straw filled steamed soy beans and then kept them in a warm, humid place. In such conditions the bacterium (Bacillus natto), living in rice straw caused the fermentation. During fermentation proteins and glucide contained in soy beans were decomposed, forming a kind of thread that can stretch up to six meters.
Nowadays natto is produced in factories, where steamed soybeans are sprayed with the required amount of bacteria (Bacillus natto). Then the machine fills with a small bean capacity, are sent by conveyor belt to storage. To bring the beans until tender, incubated at certain temperature and humidity level conducive to fermentation. After bagging natto goes on sale.
Not everyone likes the distinctive smell of natto. But stringy, viscous mass from soybeans is nutritious food. In the fermentation process produces vitamins B2 and K and such minerals as iron, calcium and potassium. In addition, natto contains enzymes that promote digestion. Also in natto was discovered nattokinase, the enzyme that dissolves blood clots.
The threads of natto have found applications not only in the field of nutrition. Of them, for example, made of fiber, biodegradable plastics and polymer, which retains water well.
During the fermentation process generates heat and produces substances that suppress the activity of other bacteria. Therefore, a properly prepared natto is stored for a long time. During one experiment a bacterium that lives in rice straw, were grown together with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli O157), which is known to cause food poisoning and even death. Pathogenic bacteria were killed. However, it is recommended to store the natto in the refrigerator and eaten in about a week, because over time the flavor changes. If the beans ferment, the soy beans completely dissolved and begins to emit a pungent smell of ammonia.
Traditionally natto is seasoned with soy sauce. Some prefer to add mustard or finely chopped green onion, some seaweed or egg. Natto goes well with freshly cooked white rice. It is also served with spaghetti, Japanese noodles, and even soup. Someone likes sandwiches with butter and natto. If soy beans served with rice, they should mix well. The more they stir, the more threads are formed.
Natto is gaining popularity because of its nutritional value becomes widely known. Now on sale: natto odourless — to the delight of those who have not endured. Therefore do not miss the opportunity to try natto. And then you will discover the unique taste viscous, viscous mass of fermented soybeans cooked in Japanese!