When I was in USC, I remember my old roommate showed me a video of this Youtuber eating natto and laughed at how strange the sticky texture was. She brought it to our apartment and giggled in disgust at how strange and smelly it was. Then I noticed my mom ate natto quite a bit and my college boyfriend’s Japanese roommate had a huge stack of natto frozen in the fridge. Natto was always this kind of hate it or love it and I went through phases of forcing myself to enjoy it because of health benefits and then actually enjoying it particularly in Tokyo. It’s insane how many varieties there are and the several ways you can enjoy it: on rice, mixed in salads or pasta, soups – and woah, on a slice of bread as natto toast.
The slightly strange thing is that right before I became pregnant, I bought packs of natto flavors that I liked (Tamago Shoyu Tare, Torommame “melty beans”, and pickled plum which you can find some of here) and thought I could easily inhale them. But after I opened the packs, I couldn’t. I realized that my taste buds were probably going through something weird. After reading a few articles about how amazing natto was for pregnant women (that they even decrease the chances of your baby having eczema) I decided to try natto again. And I enjoyed it, particularly with cheese and if I want to go the extra mile in flavors, the Furikake rice seasoning (Katsuo bonito) that I pick up from Mitsuwa. This Kikkoman Saku Saku flake stuff is honestly so addicting and makes everything taste wonderful; if you don’t have a Mitsuwa near you, you could probably find it at a Japanese supermarket or online.
Natto has a very weird texture that it’s almost indescribable; it’s typically in a small styrofoam container that you open from the edges that is a pile of fermented soybeans. Then there are these two packages that look like mustard and soy sauce that you mix altogether until you get this really sticky natto mix.
So since I’ve been pregnant and going through phases of wanting unhealthy snacks, I prepare this open-faced natto toast, especially for mornings: 1) top natto over a slice of melted cheese on great Japanese milk bread (cheese is fortunately encouraged during pregnancy and I love the thickness of Japanese milk bread since I could also stack a ton of ingredients on it). Every now and then, I’ll pile it with various toppings and if I’m feeling extra healthy, raw vegetables like spinach.
As for my pregnancy, I’m at 29 weeks (2 weeks of the third trimester) and I honestly have been feeling it in terms of how many leg/calf cramps I’m feeling and my back hurting because of how much faster my belly is bulging. The kind of “cute” thing that I was honestly anxious about was feeling the first baby kicks. There are so many threads of how much kicking you’re supposed to count that it’s overwhelming; and while it was cute at first, I wish our baby would kind of chill out at 4AM since it wakes me up; so yeah, I’m a bit sleep deprived here (and probably will be until our baby comes out and has a regular-ish sleep routine) Well, at least my first two trimesters were a smooth ride.
Open Faced Natto toast
- 1 slice bread
- 1 slice swiss cheese
- 1 pack natto
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 bunch green onions
- dash salt (optional)
Toast a slice of bread with 1-2 slices of swiss cheese until desired.
Meanwhile, slice the avocado in half with slices and mix the natto with the included sauces. Chop the green onions if using.
Once the cheese is melted onto the sliced bread, remove it from oven and spread the natto.
Garnish with green onions or other seasoings. Serve and enjoy immediately.