Some one left a comment on my site with a link to a YouTube video about Natto, reminding me that this was another Dish that appears in Harvest Moon with many variations but which may be unknown territory in real life for many players.
Natto, as players of Island of Happiness may have realised from the basic ingredient, basically consists of fermented soybeans. You can purchase plain natto from most Asian or Japanese markets, but if you are courageous and enjoy experiments in the kitchen, you can make it yourself.
Even when you make Natto yourself, you actually have to purchase the 'starter culture' in the form of commercial Natto somewhere. As with homemade yoghurt, you need the culture in the form of plain yoghurt in order to 'infect' your own ingredients. The ingredients needed to make homemade Natto therefore are soybeans, commercial Natto and water. A pressure cooker always is recommended for cooking soybeans.
Here is a link to a site that describes the entire process very well:
How to Make Natto
One of the reasons I used 'courageous' in my description of the cook who is willing to try to make Natto 'from scratch' is the disclaimer given by Kazuo Shiroki on this site as follows: 'Disclaimer: As making natto involves food processing, there is a chance of food poisoning. Even at the best care it might happen.'
Fermentation involves the creation of bacteria and is akin in a sense to allowing food or drink to spoil. Wines, ales, cheeses, yoghurt and Natto all only a few examples of fine foods and beverages created when an edible ingredient became fermented or transformed by bacteria.
Soybeans are a wonderful source of nutrients and a mainstay of many cuisines.
Whether you make your own Natto or buy it ready-made from a market, you then can experiment with different Natto dishes.
Kazuo Shiroki gives a list of easy Natto dishes that require the addition of only one or two ingredients each: Add vinegar. Add mayonnaise. Add sliced apples or applesauce. Add soy sauce. Add yoghurt. Add avocado and soy sauce. Add mustard, chopped green onions and soy sauce. Add tabasco sauce. Add soy sauce and various cheeses.
The smell of Natto and its 'sliminess' are the two aspects of plain Natto that deter many people from eating it. The additives given above reduce the odour and improve the texture.
Evidently, whether or not you make it yourself or buy it in a package, Natto needs to be stirred thoroughly or 'whipped' before you use it. According to one Japanese programme, you need to stir Natto 424 times before it will be ready to use!
Natto can be served with hot rice, spread on bread or used in any way that takes your fancy.
Here is a video from YouTube about Natto, suggested by a visitor to my Harvest Moon site: