Every once in a while there’s a food event that excites me. Ok, maybe more than every once in a while but it has been a while since I saddled up for a true enthusiasts meal and this one goes down in the books.
A couple weeks ago (I told you, I’ve been lazy!) my girlfriends and I got wind of a Natto dinner happening at Izakaya Torae Torae and knew that we wanted in.
It’s not very often that you have events that celebrate this ooey, gooey Japanese ingredient–not for the light hearted–and even less often that you have people in your life who love natto as much as you do, so when we heard it was happening, we signed up immediately.
Natto, for those of you unfamiliar, is fermented soybeans. It gets a bad rep because of its strong smell, bitter taste and stringy consistency (don’t judge as I know it may be sounding worse and worse but all those things are what I love about this sticky Japanese treat.) Most often you might see a natto enthusiast eating it with hot rice or Japanese curry (and maybe even scrambled eggs, ohhh scrambled eggs, but we won’t go there).
The dinner consisted of eight different courses, all highlighting the night’s star ingredient. From natto and truffle oil edamame to fried mochi smothered in azuki beans one dish after another celebrated what should be everyone’s favorite ingredient.
While all were delicious, these are the ones that kept me wanting more and that I will likely recreate at home on a night very soon–lucky for Daniel whose love for natto doesn’t run as deep as mine although it’s slowly growing.
Onsen Egg with Yama Imo and Natto
I’m a sucker for an onsen egg, so with soft cooked whites and ooey, savory yellows this dish was right up my alley. Swimming in Japanese dashi and covered in yama imo (mountain potato), natto and nametake mushrooms, I could’ve eaten eight servings of this dish alone.
Tempura Chiso Wrapped Natto
Of course, anything battered and fried will always be good. But this tempura just hit the spot. Natto mixed with tobiko, add a crunch from chunks of yama imo, then wrap in shiso leaves and nori and fried? What more is there to say?
And the Nebaneba don? Talk about knowing how to get a girl excited. Put all my favorite things in a bowl (natto, ikura, okra, nametake mushrooms, ahi, yama imo and a quail egg?) and call it a night. Let’s just say this dish was a combination of all the best sticky items that I could think of making it one for the books. Looking forward to the next Natto night in celebration of annual natto day in July!