“Yakuzen” (medicinal cooking) recipe that will bring health to your body and mind. 〜Stamina soba with okra and natto

“Yakuzen” (medicinal cooking) recipe that will bring health to your body and mind. 〜Stamina soba with okra and natto


In recent years, fermented foods such as shiokouji (a traditional Japanese condiment made by fermenting kouji mold with salt and water), miso and wed kimchi have become very popular in Japan. The process of fermentation does not only increase the flavour of foods, but also helps to regulate bowel movements and boosts the immune system – this is why fermented foods are much talked about as a very healthy option.

This time, Sakaguchi is introducing to us a soba recipe using natto – a representative fermented food of Japan. On the sticky foods line, this stamina soba recipe also includes okra among its ingredients.


Stamina soba with okra and natto


Ingredients (2 servings)

Okra… 4 Natto… Half pack
Yam… About 10 cm.
Deep-fried tofu… Half sheet
Tomato… Half
Soba…2 bundles
White sesame, chopped welsh onion, grated ginger… To liking

[A]Noodle soup… Easy to make amount (about 4 servings – makes for 250cc)
Katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings)…20g
Kelp… A sheet of about 5cm
Koikuchi (Dark) Soy sauce…5 tablespoons
Mirin…5 tablespoons


  • 1)Put all the [A] ingredients in a pot, turn on the fire and bring to a boil. Once it boils keep cooking over a low flame for about 10 minutes. Filter through a paper napkin and squeeze. Once at room temperature, cool in the refrigerator
  • 2) Rub salt on the okras and cut in round slices. Either grate the yam or put it inside a plastic bag and smash it with a wooden pestle. Grill the deep-fried tofu in the oven until its surface gets slightly burned and cut it into thin strips.
  • 3) Boil the soba. When it is done, put it under running water and then drain the water off.
  • 4) Put the yam, okra, stirred natto, deep-fried tofu and tomato on the soba, and pour the noodle sauce from “1)” step on it. Add white sesame, chopped welsh onion and grated ginger to liking.

★You can also use ready-made noodle sauce instead of making your own.
★The leftover sauce can stay for 5 days in the refrigerator. It can be made into a Japanese style dressing by adding oil and vinegar, or it can be even used as pon-zu vinegar by adding citrus fruits vinegar.

The point of this medicinal cooking recipe, according to Sakaguchi

In medicinal cooking, natto is thought to be a food that warms the body and that regulates bowel movements, thus being effective in expelling toxins accumulated inside our bodies and in improving blood circulation. It is said that, in 1 gram of natto, there are more than 10 billion of bacillus subtilis natto. These are not broken down by stomach acids; they pass on to the intestines, where they display their effects in regulating the bowels by helping the proliferation of good bacteria. There was a student in my medicinal cooking class whose persistent constipation got better by making it a point to eat natto every night at dinner. Besides helping the bowel movements, I recommend natto for people concerned about skin troubles, tiredness and aging.

Natto is Japan’s pride in terms of fermented foods. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but its detox effects are undeniable! If you are feeling tired, there is nothing better than this stamina soba to help you reset♪

Recipe by: Sumi Sakaguchi, expert in medicinal cooking.

sumi Sakaguchi

Representative of Kanpo Kitchen Inc. Professor at the Japanese branch of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Pioneer in researching about traditional Chinese medicinal cooking in Japan. She studied abroad in Beijing from 1991, becoming the first government sponsored Japanese student overseas. She holds lessons of medicinal cooking and does menu consultations for companies and municipalities. She did her research on the medicinal cooking records from the Qing Dinasty Court at the Xiyuan Hospital CACMS, at the graduate studies division of the Beijing University of Chinese medicine. She has also written numerous books including “Omedeta yakuzen (published by Shufunotomo Co.)” [Happy yakuzen] and “Seitaikou no anti-aging recipe (published by Shufunotomo Co.)” [The anti-aging recipes of Empress Dowager.] She loves China to the point that she went to study abroad there in 2012 with her 7 year old daughter.


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