A traditional local dish from Mito city is soboro natto, a mixture of natto fermented soybeans and dried daikon strips with salt. In Mito during the Edo period (1603-1868) it was common to harvest soybeans before the typhoon season. The soybeans were early maturing and smaller in size. Natto was developed as a way to enjoy the smaller soybeans. Since that time natto production flourished. Soybeans harvested in autumn were made into natto and passed out at temples and to neighbors. Dried daikon strips seasoned with salt and soy sauce were added to leftover natto to extend the shelf life.
Mito is famous for natto and making the fermented soybeans at home is common in Ibaraki. Homemade natto has a strong aroma, is rich in flavor, and has a unique character. Consumers accustomed to store-bought natto will be surprised at the deep flavor of homemade. Ibaraki produces a lot of daikon so it is customary in many homes to make dried daikon strips to preserve the root vegetable.
It is said that the beginning of soboro natto was when salt and dried daikon strips were added to fermented natto that did not have the signature slippery strings to create soboro natto. Making soboro natto at home is easy. Natto, dried daikon strips, soy sauce, mirin, or other ingredients are simmered together. This concentrated sauce will help to preserve the natto. Drying the daikon strips increases the umami in the daikon. When combined with the fermented soybeans it helps to give the natto a rich and deep flavor.RECIPE_HEADEND