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


Nattojiru / miso soup with fermented soybeans

A stew-like miso soup featuring natto. Natto's distinctive aroma softens after simmering for some time, and this is a good introductory dish for those who are not familiar with the ingredient. Great for chilly or cool days, as the soup warms your body. 

104 calories (1/2 of recipe); 8.8 g protein; 5.2 g fat; 5.4 g carbohydrate; 3.3 g net carbs; 261 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 2.1 g fiber

1 small pack natto fermented soybeans (42 g in photo)
2-3 cm (100-140 g) momen firm tofu (123 g in photo)
1/2 green onion (green section)

250 cc niboshi dashi (stock made of niboshi or iriko dried young sardines)
1/2 tsp sakekasu sake lees
2 tsp miso


In a pot, put niboshi dashi, sakekasu and natto, cover, bring to boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, take some dashi from pot, and mix in miso.
Cut tofu, and thinly slice green onion.


Mash natto as desired.
Add tofu, cover, and simmer for another few minutes.


Add miso, mix well (remove from heat if soup seems on the verge of boiling).


Serve in individual bowls, and garnish with green onion.

  • This recipe makes a relatively small amount of soup, and it is almost better to treat it as a side dish instead of a soup to accompany rice.
  • If you like thinner consistency, you can add more water (adding dashi increases the overall sodium content).
  • Sodium content depends on the miso you use. I use miso that contains 205mg sodium per teaspoon (6 grams). One minor point that matters to people on a reduced-sodium diet: Nutrition information on product packages of a lot miso sold in the US is based on 1 tablespoon as 16 grams, whereas in Japan 1 tablespoon of miso is counted as 18 grams.
  • Nattojiru is said to be especially common in the northern part of Japan, especially in Yamagata, Iwate and Akita prefectures.
  • Other popular ingredients include usuage thin deep-fried tofu and vegetables (root vegetables and wild vegetables in particular). Mushrooms are also great additions.
  • Nattojiru, as an expression, is a seasonal word for winter in haiku poems.
(Last noted: May 25, 2016)

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