Natto stuffed Tofu pouch納豆詰め油揚焼

japanese cake

Initially, I thought I did not post this item.  Since a search of my blog did not yield anything. But it turns out I posted this item many years ago (2009)  It was one dish among several I served that time.  Grilled deep fried tofu pouch or “Yaki abura-age” 焼き油揚 is a rather common Japanese appetizer or breakfast item. It can be eaten with soy sauce or stuffed with various items, melting cheese being one of the most common items(Kitusne Raclett)). I thawed a small package of natto without thinking about how I would serve it and came up with this rather easy solution.

Natto is a difficult food item for Westerners to approach and even some Japanese shy away from it. It took some time and effort before my wife could enjoy (tolerate?) natto. The secret is to mix it well (in my case, using a special Natto mixing tool). Mixing it well with air, appears to reduce the smell and stickiness.

After cooking, I cut it diagonally showing natto inside.

Ingredients (for two small appetizers):

2 small deep fried tofu pouches (abura-age) for Inari sushi or a rectangular one cut into two.

One package of natto

1 stalk chopped scallion

1 perilla leaf (optional, finely julienned)

Soy sauce and Japanese mustard (or use  packages came with the natto).

Directions:

If using frozen aura-age, thaw and then pour hot water over the tofu pouches to remove any excess oil, pat dry with a paper towel. If not easily opened, roll it with a rolling pin and open the pouch trying not to tear it.

Prepare the natto by mixing with the scallion, soy sauce and mustard. The more you mix the less oder and stickiness it will have. Stuff the pouch with the natto and close the opening using a tooth pick. You could grill this in a toaster oven but this time I cooked it in a frying pan until both sides were nicely browned and the natto was hot.

While it is hot, pour on some soy sauce and serve. This is still natto and may not appeal to everybody but we enjoyed it with cold sake. You need a bit of sake as a chaser after enjoying this dish.

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