I first tried natto when I was interning at a boutique advertising agency in Vancouver. During that time, I lived with my cousin and his roomate on Burnaby Mountain, commuted to work in Yaletown and occasionally visited friends in Richmond.
This trip was an eye-opener for me, both professionally and personally. Not only was it my first job in the design field, it was also my first time experiencing that you did not need a car to get places, cooking (yikes!) and eating avocados (I know!) among many other things. I came back a changed person, and somehow, Vancity had turned me into a foodie.
In Vancouver, I had the pleasure of spending time with a Japanese family, who introduced me to natto. I had three small beans not even half the size of the tip of my pinkie collectively, and I had to stop eating—it tasted weird.
Natto is one of those foods that—upon first try—you realize that there just might be a direct correlation as to how healthy something is for you and how bad it tastes. Natto is loaded with nutrients and consuming it does miraculous things such as fight cancer, improve digestion, sustain bone mineral density and regulate blood clotting and heart health. Basically, it’s a superfood.
The second time I tried natto was at Yuzu Izakaya at the intersection of Yonge and Finch in Toronto. My cousin had ordered a dish called ‘Salmon and Natto’ which was misleading because it tasted nothing like natto. After I tried it, I fell in love with the refreshing mix of salmon, natto, avocado, cucumber and raw quail egg. The amount of natto placed in this dish was tastefully minimal and you could only experience a hint of it, which was just enough to pair with everything else.
I thought to myself, this is a delicious meal that I could definitely make at home.
I tweaked a few things, removed the quail egg and cucumber, which I wasn’t so crazy about, increased the amount of avocado, added crisped rice dipped in ponzu sauce and yes, I kept the natto—it just wasn’t the same without it.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, it’s great paired with a bowl of miso soup.
Salmon Avocado and Natto Seaweed Wrap
YIELD: 2-3 servings
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
CREDITS: Frances Lam (Inspired by Yuzu Izakaya)
- 250 g Salmon fillet (sashimi grade)
- 1 Large Ripe Avocado (or 2 small ones)
- 4 tbsp Crisped Rice (you can use cereals such as Rice Krispie/Rice Bubbles)
- 3 tbsp Ponzu Sauce
- 1-2 tspn Natto
- Dried Seaweed (cut into bite size pieces, suggested size: 7x7cm)
- Sesame Seeds (for garnish)
- Soak the crisped rice in the ponzu sauce for 5 minutes, remove, drain and set aside. Cut the salmon and avocado into 0.5cm cubes. In a bowl, mix together the salmon, crisped rice, avocado and natto.
- Spoon mixture onto seaweed wrap and garnish with sesame. Serve right away.
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