Natto Negi Maki (Natto with Chives Small Roll)
Natto is a fermented Japanese food made from soya beans. It has a strong, distinctive smell and a sticky, gooey texture. Fermented food like natto is, like Marmite, an acquired taste - but beware, it is famously addictive in spite of its strong smell! Japanese people eat natto with rice for breakfast. It is delicious mixed with mustard and soy sauce and is very popular as a sushi filling.
|5 strands||of chives, chopped|
|2 half-handfuls (roughly 160g)||of cooked sushi rice|
|1||pack (50g) natto (without the soy sauce and mustard)|
|1||sheet of nori|
You will need a sushi mat (if using a bamboo mat, cover it tightly with cling film).
Mix the chives with the sushi rice in a small bowl; the green chives and white sushi rice look great together. Roughly break up the natto with a knife.
You will be able to see some thin lines on the nori seaweed sheet. Following one of these lines, cut the sheet in half with scissors, but be very careful as it breaks easily. Place a half-sheet of nori shiny side down on the bottom half of the sushi mat, with the lines of the sheet lying horizontally across the mat.
Wet your fingers in the bowl of water, and shake off any excess. Damp fingers help when handling sticky sushi rice. Look for a line in the nori sheet about 1cm from the top.
Keeping the top 1cm of the sheet clear, spread half a handful of rice (roughly 80g) over the sheet evenly and gently with your fingertips. Do not use too much rice and do not press it on to the sheet. It must be a very thin layer of rice.
Place half the natto in the centre of the rice using a spoon, as it is very sticky and stringy.
Rolling the sushi:
Holding the fillings in place with your index fingers, start rolling with the mat from the bottom edge of the nori towards the top of the rice edge. Keep rolling 3 or 4 times, and each time you roll, open the mat and make sure that it is tightly rolled, so that there are no gaps between the fillings and the nori.
Repeat with the remaining nori sheet and filling ingredients then cut your rolls into 6-8 pieces.
Use different types of herbs such as shiso leaves, parsley or coriander, or even spring onion, instead of chives.
Each pack of natto usually comes with Japanese mustard and soy sauce. I do not recommend adding these sauces when making sushi rolls as it will make the mixture too runny, but I love to mix the mustard and soy sauce in a bowl of plain rice.