All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Natto no tenpura / fermented soybean tempura

Softly sweet and fluffy natto tempura. At my parents' home, we made this with tempura batter that was left over after frying other vegetables. Natto tempura is great when eaten piping hot.


1 pack natto fermented soybeans
2 green onions

For tempura batter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp potato starch
4 tbsp very cold water
2 tsp beaten egg (approx. 1/8 egg)

Oil (canola and sesame oil mix; not in photo)

Start to heat oil.


Thinly slice green onions.


Mix flour and potato starch well.
Mix egg and water, add to flour + potato starch, and roughly mix (they do not need to be perfectly incorporated).

Add natto and green onions, and mix.


Dip bamboo chopsticks in oil to check temperature. When fine bubbles vigorously come up from tips of chopsticks, oil is ready (it should be around 180 C/360 F).
Scoop natto and green onions, and quietly put in oil.

Flip once or twice while frying.
When both sides color slightly, raise heat somewhat.
When surface is golden brown, they are ready.
Lift each piece while keeping one end still immersed in oil, hold it in that position for a moment to draw excess oil into the pan, remove from oil while quickly shaking, and place on a baking sheet or plate lined with paper towels.


Immediately serve hot with soy sauce.
(Hungry Tom.)

  • Potato starch in the batter helps give tempura a light texture (less gluten formation). If potato starch is not at hand, corn starch or rice flour works fine.
  • For the above volume, you will basically have an entire egg left over. Have a plan for another dish to use up the egg.
  • Each piece cooks relatively quickly (1-2 minutes). For this reason, I raise the heat when natto pieces start to take on some color and finish them at  higher temperature.
  • When eating natto tempura, do not use too much soy sauce. A little dab at one end of each piece should be enough.
  • Benishoga pickled ginger is a nice addition.
  • The oil will smell a little like natto after making this dish. The oil, after filtering, can still be reused to deep-fry strong tasting ingredients such as meat, oysters or marinated fish.

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