Natto is traditional Japanese food; the best way to eat it is Natto Gohan! Let's learn how you can prepare it with 8 topping ideas.
We like to eat Natto, fermented soybeans, for their nutrient-rich properties that keep our guts healthy!
And Natto Gohan is the easiest way of enjoying this natural goodness!
I know Natto is weird food for people who haven't grown up with it. So I can't guarantee you will love it, but if you are curious, you will learn the first step in this recipe!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You want to try Japanese natto
- You are looking for natto recipe ideas
- You want to try Natto Gohan (Natto over rice)
- You are looking for how to make Natto Gohan
Let me show you how to make Natto Gohan. If you want to check the recipe, please jump to the recipe card. Let's get cooking!
About this recipe
- Natto Gohan (Natto over rice)
- The most simple way to eat Natto
- 8 topping ideas
- And more natto recipe ideas
What is natto gohan?
If you have no idea about Natto Gohan, here is a simple explanation.
Natto Gohan: A dish that places Natto over the bowl of rice (Gohan means rice in Japanese).
It's a quick, easy, healthy, and nutrients rich breakfast.
If you go to a Japanese-style hotel in Japan, most likely, Natto Gohan will be on the breakfast menu.
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Cooked rice: We eat short-grain rice, and it's perfect for making Natto Gohan, but you can use any rice that suits your taste. You can learn how to cook Japanese rice in this recipe!
- Natto: As you can see in the picture, the three packs of Natto are sold as one in Japan. Each pack comes with natto sauce and karashi (Japanese mustard), and one pack is for one serving which is about 50g. If your Natto doesn't come with the sauce and karashi, you can pour soy sauce or make it by mixing soy sauce, dashi and sugar.
Ok, let me show you how to prepare Natto Gohan. You can also watch this video.
- Open: Open the pack, and you will see the sauce and karashi on top.
- Take the film: Put the sauce and karashi aside and take the film on top of the Natto.
- Sauce and karashi: Pour the sauce and karashi over the Natto.
- Stir: Stir with chopsticks until smooth, about 10 to 20 times.
- Over the rice: Prepare a bowl of rice and place Natto over the rice.
Here you go! The most popular Japanese natto dish and our go-to breakfast!
This is simple Natto Gohan recipe, but if you want to spice things up a bit more or try out some toppings, I have listed topping ideas below!
Helpful tips to deal with gooey Natto
When you eat Natto, your mouth will get sticky and uncomfortable.
Once you put a bite into your mouth, swirl chopsticks (or spoon) to cut the Natto's sticky strings.
It will prevent them from floating and scattering in the air.
Stir more to increase Umami
This is a kinda fun fact. If you stir Natto many times, you can taste umami (savory taste) more.
There is an article that scientifically proves that if you stir well, the umami score will increase, and also, if you add the sauce several times separately, the taste will be better.
The method from the article:
- Stir 400 times
- Add the sauce after stirring
- Add the sauce multiple times (not at once)
I've tried it, and see the photo below. The left photo was stirred 20 times, and the right photo followed the method and was stirred 400 times.
You can see white gooey stuff around the Natto in the right photo. It is more fluffy and soft as it contains more air and tastes better.
Also, it's less stringy, so easier to eat.
Stirring 400 times is work! But if you want more umami, please give it a try!
Simple Natto Gohan (only Natto and rice) is delicious but adding some toppings is even more enjoyable!
It's fun to add various textures and tastes, such as "sour, spicy, thick, creamy" to Natto. Are you interested? Let's dive in!
Here are the ingredients. I have 8 topping ideas here.
From left to right.
- Nagaimo (Mountain yam): Nagaimo is a root vegetable eaten raw. When grated, it's slimy and gooey.
- Umeboshi (Pickled Plum): Japanese traditional pickles. It's sour and salty.
- Boiled egg
Let me show you how to prepare each ingredient.
Stir Natto with natto sauce and karashi beforehand.
- Grated Nagaimo: Peel and grate it, place it on the Natto, and pour a bit of soy sauce.
- Umeboshi: Remove the seed, chop it to make a paste, and place it on the Natto.
- Scallions: Chop them and place them on the Natto.
- Grated Daikon: Peel and grate it, and place it on the Natto.
- Kimchi: Place it on the Natto.
- Okra: Boil okra for a couple of minutes, chop them, put them on the Natto, and top with katsuobushi.
- Boiled egg: Mash it, season with mayonnaise, and put it on the Natto.
- Avocado: Cut it into bite-sized pieces, add a pinch of salt, and put it on the Natto.
Prepare a bowl of rice (see: how to cook Japanese rice) and enjoy the Natto over rice!
My favorite is Natto Gohan with kimchi (which is also fermented food)! The spice adds more flavor to the Natto.
More Natto Gohan Variations
I couldn't make it into a recipe, but here are more ideas you could try.
Add just a little condiment, dried food, pickles, and so on to make the Natto Gohan gorgeous!
Here are the ideas:
- Condiment: miso paste, mentsuyu (noodle soup), ponzu (citrus sauce), mayonnaise, wasabi (Japanese horseradish), shichimi (spice mixture)
- Oil: olive oil, sesame oil
- Seaweed: shio kombu, shredded nori, seasoned nori, furikake, mekabu, mozuku
- Vegetables: sliced onion, tomatoes, shiso (green leaves)
- Japanese pickles: takuan, takana, nozawana, fukushinzuke
- Others: cheese, raw egg, shirasu (baby sardine)
Thanks For Stopping By
Natto Gohan is a simple breakfast dish that you can make in just minutes. I hope you like the recipe with all of its topping ideas!
If you have any questions, please comment in the section below!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you've tried this recipe(or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Natto Recipes You Might Like
- Natto omlette
- Natto egg toast
- Natto cheese toast
- Natto udon noodle bowl
- Natto sushi roll
- Natto miso soup
- Natto chahan
Natto Gohan (Natto Rice) RecipePrint Pin Rate
- 1 pack Natto, 50g/1.8oz (use attached sauce and karashi)
- 1 bowl of Cooked Rice, 150g/5.3oz
Toppings (as much as you want)
- Nagaimo, Mountain yam
- Umeboshi, Pickled Plum
- Okra and Katsuobushi, Bonito flakes
- Boiled egg, Mayonnaise,
- Avocado and Salt
- Stir natto: Open the pack of natto, add the natto sauce and karashi, and stir.
- Natto over rice: Prepare a bowl of rice, place the natto over the rice.
How to prepare toppings:
- Grated Nagaimo: Peel and grate it, place it on the natto, and pour a bit of soy sauce.
- Umeboshi: Remove the seed, chop it to make a paste, and place it on the natto.
- Scallions: Chop them and place them on the natto.
- Grated Daikon: Peel and grate it, and place it on the natto.
- Kimchi: Place it on the natto.
- Okra: Boil okra for a couple of minutes, chop them, put them on the natto, and top with katsuobushi.
- Boiled egg: Mash it, season with mayonnaise, and put it on the natto.
- Avocado: Cut it into bite-sized pieces, add a pinch of salt, and put it on the natto.
- Substitute: If your natto doesn't come with sauce and karashi, you can use soy sauce or make it on your own by mixing soy sauce, dashi and sugar.
- Storage: Keep natto in the fridge or freezer. When eating frozen natto, please leave it in the refrigerator for a half-day to defrost naturally. No microwave oven as it ruins the taste.
We frequently eat natto over rice topped with chopped long green onion (AKA scallions) for breakfast along with misoshiru and some tsukemono (pickles). Iburigakko from Akita anyone?
The chopped cooked egg with mayonnaise (Kewpie, of course) topping looks interesting, and I’ll try it soon.
Thanks for your comment, Rick! Glad to hear you are enjoying a real Japanese traditional meal! Enjoy various toppings on your natto!
I love natto but I’ve only ever stirred it 200 times. I have tried natto with okra and natto udon before. Both were delicious. You have given us so many yummy sounding toppings to try I am looking forward to it. I shall definitely try mixing x400 so I get delicious natto and strong arms 💪
Thanks for your comment, Caroline! Glad to hear you like the topping ideas 🙂
Thank you for a great informative article.
Thanks for your comment, Tina!