If there’s a Japanese food that divides people more than any other, it’s gotta be natto.
You know what that is, right? Fermented soy beans. A love-or-hate food. The Marmite (or Vegemite) of Japan. For anyone who’s never seen or tried natto before, here’s what it looks like.
Sure, we agree it doesn’t have that ‘gourmet cuisine’ aura straight outta the packet. And don’t ask us about the smell. Some people can’t even be in the same room as a pile of natto, like it’s an ex they’re avoiding.
This stuff can be eaten, and enjoyed, but you need to go about it the right way. The secret to good natto is stirring it around before you eat. Whip up that stinky, sticky mess as much as you can, with chopsticks or a spoon. It makes a real difference to the taste.
If your arm strength isn’t up to it, or you wanna save some time, buy a natto stirring machine instead. The ultimate natto stirring machine from Japan.
Modern design and old fashioned stirring science
‘Ultimate NTO’ (kyuukyoku no NTO, 究極のNTO) is a remake of 2014’s ‘Rosanjin natto bowl’. Rosanjin was a famous Japanese artist and food bowl/plate maker. We can see why the product name changed – the new one’s catchier. And more epic.
It’s basically a manual mixing machine. Turn the handle on top the exact number of times it tells you, and you’ll end up with perfectly stirred natto.
See the Ultimate NTO in action in the instruction video:
No English subs, sadly, so we’ll explain the whole thing.
Start from the green ‘kaishi’ (開始, start) symbol, and get turning. For each full turn of the handle, the stirrer inside rotates at least twice – saving you time, and arm muscle energy. Watch the dial wind past 15% done, past 30%, then 50%…
Take the chance to add soy sauce to your natto, when you reach the orange ‘shoyu’ (醤油) symbol. That’s after 305 turns, by the way. Why? ‘Cause Rosanjin once wrote that’s the best time for it.
As well as making serving dishes and bowls, Rosanjin studied how to prep and eat Japanese foods. He bravely gulped down bowls of unstirred and half-mixed natto, and tested when to drop the soy sauce in.
Back to mixing. A door on the machine pops open automatically for soy sauce time. Pour into the unmissable hole, close the door, and keep that handle turning.
Carry on stirring as the dial reaches 75%, and eventually you’ll reach the bright pink ‘kyuukyoku’ (究極) – ultimate – finish. The door opens by itself again, to let you know you’re done.
How far to go? It’s your turn to decide
By that point, believe it or not, the machine’s stirred your natto 424 times. Thank Rosanjin for that number, too. It’s seen as the ‘ideal’ amount to mix before eating.
Compared to not stirring at all, it’s claimed that a run through the Ultimate NTO makes natto taste 109% richer. 424 turns for 9% extra flavour maybe doesn’t sound like a fair deal. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.
There’s 1 more setting – infinite mode. Marked by a red ‘infinity’ sideways 8 symbol. In this mode, you can turn and stir away to your natto-loving heart’s content. It’s not ready til you say so… or til your arm falls off.
This also gives you the option to stir a bit less, if you want. 424 times is a lot. Not everybody’s got time for that.
How long are you ready to wait for perfection? How much soy bean stirring is too much? With this kind of advantage over Rosanjin, it shouldn’t be hard to find out.
Take the ultimate natto mixer for a spin
Use the Ultimate NTO machine, and you’ll make perfect natto every time. Check it’s still in stock on DEJAPAN.