Reproducing Iron Chef Morimoto’s Natto Dessert

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/domyojiko-mochi-with-red-bean-filling

…many years ago, my friend John and I had dinner over at the old Ginza in Brookline, MA (now the site of Gyu-Kaka Boston).   During that dinner, my friend John  made an order for (…drumroll…) NATTO.  Unfortunately the natto, at that time, didn’t go over with him…(fast forward to the present)…and then there was:  Coca Cola Flavored Natto Dessert With Domyoji And Coconut Cream Sauce.

Iron Chef Floor Reporter Ohta: I asked the Iron Chef whether he’d ever served natto dishes at Nobu. And he turned around and said, “Never. I never thought natto would be accepted in the US; but you know what, I’m trying to create some natto dishes here that everyone can enjoy. ‘Natto-around-the-world’: that’s my theme and I’m going to change your perception of natto today.”

This was just one of those out there desserts that I wanted to try from the Iron Chef Japan series. Battle Natto can be seen here:


(see time indices 13:00-13:26, 14:10-14:27, 22:00-22:16, 24:08-24:32, 24:41-24:58, 35:23-35:52)

I was intrigued enough by the tasters comments…

Tenmei Kanoh – …it’s not sweet enough.
Hiromi Nagasaku – …but you know, you say that you wanted it sweeter; but if you make  it sweeter it wouldn’t be a natto dish anymore. It’s very mysterious but it’s also very good.
Tsurutaro Kataoka – …not bad, not bad; it’s the weirdest sweet natto in Japan.

…and that it gave me all the more motivation to try and make this dish. My notes indicated that Iron Chef Morimoto likely used:

large bean natto to cover the surface of a pot
1 whole can coca cola (12 oz?) to cover large bean natto in a pot
4 5-fingerfuls of sugar (re-measured using my hands – 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
plain domyoji-ko (see – https://en.cookpad.com/recipe/2094552, leave out all the dye, sakura  and red bean items)
sauce of coconut milk, sugar, fresh cream (see http://voices.yahoo.com/how-bananas-coconut-milk-delicious-authentic-801603.html)

That suggested the ingredient list was:

large bean natto to cover the surface of a pot (about 16 oz?)
1 whole can coca cola (12 oz?) to cover large bean natto in a pot
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
~8.81 oz Domyoji-ko (250g coarsely ground Japanese rice flour)
~3.5 oz Sugar (100 g)
~13.5 oz water (400 ml)
2 1/4 c coconut milk
1/4 c fresh cream
3/4 c sugar

Ingredient Commentary –

In watching the video, one notices that Iron Chef Morimoto uses a can of coca cola (presumably of the 12 oz variety).  After consulting my cousin Bob who follows Coca Cola history, he confirmed that the Coca Cola was likely the same as the US Coca Cola in cans.  Additionally, he commented that Coca Cola in a bottle was the ‘original Coca Cola’ and used sugar rather than HFCS in the current formulation and so the flavor profiles would be different.

Use the coca cola in the can on the left and not the one in the bottle on the right!

Use the coca cola in the can on the left and not the one in the bottle on the right!

A.  For the coconut cream sauce (yields 3 1/4 cups) – Can be prepared ahead

2 1/4 c coconut milk
1/4 c fresh cream
3/4 c sugar

That also seemed like a lot,   So I also chose to halve the recipe to (yields a bit more than ~1 cup)

as it turns out, this coconut milk was a ~13.6 oz can

as it turns out, this coconut milk was a ~13.6 oz can

Coconut cream sauce ingredients

Coconut cream sauce ingredients

1 1/8 c (9 oz) coconut milk
1/8 c (1 oz) fresh cream
3/8 c sugar (6 T + 2 T + 1/4t)

1. Put the coconut milk into a pan. Cook it over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it boils. Once boiled, turn down the heat

Heating the coconut milk so that it can quickly dissolve the sugar

Heating the coconut milk so that it can quickly dissolve the sugar

2. Add the sugar and  stir again.

Sweetening the coconut millk

Sweetening the coconut millk

3. Cook another 1-2 minutes until the sugar has all dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and add the

Cream being added (off heat)

Cream being added (off heat)

cream. Mix together quickly.

B. For the Natto, Coca Cola flavor (yields about 4 ounces of flavored natto)

The NATTO of interest

The NATTO of interest

...more details on the natto of interest

…more details on the natto of interest

So making the sweet cola flavored large bean natto turned out to be:

3.5 oz package of large bean natto to cover the surface of a pot
1 whole can coca cola (12 oz?) to cover large bean natto in a pot
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar

Opened package of large bean natto

Opened package of large bean natto

1. Cover the bottom of a sauce pot with large natto beans – and this turned out to be 1 3.5 oz package.

Natto to the pot

Natto to the pot

2. Cook the natto beans in the coca cola and bring to a boil

Adding the coca cola to the natto

Adding the coca cola to the natto

3. add the sugar, reduce the heat to about 65% max power and simmer until caramelized (about 25

Adding the sugar to the mix

Adding the sugar to the mix

...and reduce the mixture to...

…and reduce the mixture to…

minutes)

...this!

…this!

C. For the domyoji (yields 6 portions)

Domyoji-ko (coarsely ground Japanese rice flour) 62.5 g  (~2.2 oz; 5 T + 1 t + 1/2 t)
Sugar 25 g                                        (~7/8 oz; 1 T + 1 t + 1/2 t)
water 100 ml                                  (~3 3/8 oz of already boiled water, then measured out)
1. Heat the water and add the Domyoji-ko once it starts boiling. While stirring, continue to heat until all of the moisture has been absorbed by the rice flour.

2. Combine the ingredients thoroughly with a wooden spatula or spoon and once the mixture has become plump and soft, stir in the sugar.

3. Lay a damp tea towel out in a steamer and steam the mixture for 15 minutes.

4. After finished steaming, divide it into ~6 equal portions and roll into balls

4. From what I learned from my previous write up on domyojiko mochi with red bean filling, I decided to divide the mochi into 3 equal parts and roll them into balls.

To assemble

1. Place a domyoji into a dessert bowl

Plating the domyoji

Plating the plain domyoji

2. Spoon the coconut cream sauce over the domyoji (about 4 tablespoons/serving)
3. Carefully spoon the coca cola natto atop the domyoji

The dessert plated with the coconut cream sauce and the sweet cola natto reduction

The dessert plated with the coconut cream sauce and the sweet cola natto reduction

Just before I started plating, I tasted the reduction and boy was I ever surprised.  The cola natto

Morimoto Natto Dessert

Morimoto Natto Dessert

reduction was REALLY GOOD.  As my wife and I tasted the finished dessert, we had a number of reactions.  My wife was perhaps the most skeptical between the two of us, but even she commented how good it was. It  reminded her a little bit of the stewed adzuki/red beans cooked in black sugar.  While Tenmei Kanoh had criticized the dessert as not being sweet enough, I thought  it was plenty sweet. (in fact, my wife thought it might be too sweet). Like Hiromi Nagasaku, I think if the dessert was too sweet, it wouldn’t be a natto dessert anymore. In fact, as I bit into the softened cooked natto, if I focused my palate hard enough, I could just taste the fact that the bean was natto.  In all fairness, I should say that I did taste the natto before I cooked it, and I thought this particular soybean natto I used was actually quite good by itself.  My wife indicated that this was a dessert she would be interested in having again (as would I).  Thank you, Iron Chef Morimoto for showing us this dish.

OK, John!  Come And Get It!

Special thanks to Abbie-chan@Ebisuya in Medford, MA for helping with the natto and domyoji-ko sourcing!

Resource

large bean, plain unflavored natto  – Ebisuya,  Medford, MA
Domyoji-ko                           – Ebisuya, Medford, MA
Thai Kitchen’s Organic Coconut Milk  – Wegmans, Chestnut Hill, MA

 

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  1. #1 by Abbie on July 13, 2014 - 11:45 am

    I’m happy to see that the recipe turned out great! 美味しそうです!(^∇^)

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