Arigato Natto 2ーHow to Make Natto Sustainablly Even in Africa

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It is faire to say everyone wants to be happy, and each one of us tries to achieve something for that (e.g. lose 20kg, get married, have a nice job, etc.). However, the more your objectives are sustainable, the more it will bring value added in general, as the life continues.

That is also why I highlighted the importance of having good habits (continuation) rather than establishing objectives (which have end point) in the previous entry .

More specifically, the other day, I managed to make Natto in Africa for the first time (for the detail, see here). At the moment I tasted it, I felt very happy, just like when you have a good meal. And I wanted to keep feeling that way.

With that in mind, in this entry, I would like to share my experience on how I achieved sustainability with regard to Natto making in Mauritania as well as some learning out of it.

Limitation of resource which blocks sustainability

The success of Natto making was due principally to the two ingredients I bought in Japan: (1) Organic soybeans (2kg) and (2) Bacillus Natto (which facilitates fermentation of 10kg of soybeans).

That is, if I consume Natto I made every day (50g), it will last only for 40 days, and if I live longer than that period, I would have to find alternative.

Soybeans in Chinese garden

In Nouakchott (capital of Mauritania), there are two Chinese gardens which sell vegetables, and one of which sells Tofu, Asian ingredient I am really fond of. In fact, this Chinese garden is the only place I can practice my Chinese language, and every time I go buy Tofu, I ask “Do you have Tofu today? → Yes we have/ No we don’t” as there is few Tofu available compared to a number of people who want to buy it.

Anyway, I asked myself one day, if they sell Tofu (which is another product of fermented soybeans), it means they must have soybeans somewhere (egg or chicken).

However, as I did not know how to say soybeans in Chinese, I just expressed beans with my gesture and pointed out Tofu, as if they were the brothers or something similar. And luckily they understood immediately and brought some soybeans. Besides, the price is much cheaper (100 MRU (2.8 USD) /1kg) than Japanese organic one (1,500 JPY (13 USD) / 1kg). I thought if this Chinese soybeans work well, that would be magnificent for the sustainability.

Fermentation of soybeans

Although bacillus Natto I bought in Japan allows to make 10kg of Natto, it will reach an end one day. By analyzing the process of Natto making (which can use Natto in the supermarket), I wondered if the one I made and froze could be used for fermentation or not.

Experiment of 4 different process

To clarify the alternative of limited resources (soybeans and bacillus Natto), I decided to carry out experiment of 4 different process, by using Japanese and Chinese soybeans, and for fermentation bacillus Natto and defrosted Natto I made, as is shown in the below table. If ④ works out, Natto making in Mauritania becomes totally sustainable (without needs of Japanese resources).

Japanese soybeans Chinese soybeans
bacillus Natto
Defrosted Natto (I made)

Advanced Process

As mentioned in the previous entry, the process of Natto making took me whole 3 days. However, as I highlighted in another post, I bought a pressure cooker which could save time (8-16 times).

Therefore, this experiment deals with not only 4 different process but also the trial of pressure cooker, which makes double experiment!

As 1 image is equivalent of or shows more than 1,000 words, let’s see the following 2 images with different process (for the detail of each step, please see here).

First time: Non-sustainable process (With Japanese soybeans, without pressure cooker and defrosted Natto)

Second time: Sustainable process (with local Chinese soybeans, pressure cooker, defrosted Natto) 

Result of the experiment

In terms of the pressure cooker, although there was small problem, I could save more than 5 hours thanks to it.

And now, the results of 4 different process are as follows.

Japanese soybeans Chinese soybeans (local)
Bacillus Natto ① Success (the most sticky) ② Success (quite sticky)
Defrosted Natto (I made) ③ Success (a bit less sticky) ④ Success! (a bit less sticky)

Success!

Upon reflection, it seems to me that there is no significant difference between Japanese and Chinese soybeans and that defrosted Natto is a bit weaker than Bacillus Natto. But still it works well (and it was equally tasty!)

From that moment on, my vision of Mauritanian life become much more enjoyable, thanks to the sustainable process of Natto making.

The importance of finding a sustainable way must be highlighted not only for Natto making, but also for any kind of project, learning, and activities in the life to feel happy in a continuous fashion.

The learning of this time 

Through Natto making and use of pressure cooker for the first time, as well as discovery of local Chinese soybeans and experiment with defrosted Natto, I managed to find a sustainable process, which will contribute to the happiness. 

Thank you for reading. If you like it, please don’t forget to subscribe. If you have any comment/question, please feel free to leave. Have a great learning!

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