An Ode to Slimy, Slippery, Sticky Food

Few foods paint upon the blank canvas of a bowl of jasmine rice quite as brilliantly as natto. A much-loved Japanese dish of fermented soybeans, natto complements the rice sitting beneath, its gooey, stringy texture and pungent aroma lending the plain …

Few foods paint upon the blank canvas of a bowl of jasmine rice quite as brilliantly as natto. A much-loved Japanese dish of fermented soybeans, natto complements the rice sitting beneath, its gooey, stringy texture and pungent aroma lending the plain grains a satisfying kick. The moment natto hits my tongue, the luscious mouthfeel leaves me craving another bite.

This simple breakfast—topped with the sharp fragrance of garnishes like mustard, soy sauce, and chopped spring onions—appeared frequently on my family's table when I was growing up. With an enthusiasm instilled in me by my father from the time he spent in Japan, I always devoured natto, delighting in its punchy flavor and never minding its sticky texture. Natto and similarly slick foods such as seaweed and mountain yam (usually known as nagaimo or yamaimo) were permanent fixtures in my diet, their distinctly slippery textures downright slurp-worthy.

Read More >>

When It Comes to Okra, ‘Crispy-Soft’ Is the Best Texture

A few years ago, on a whim, I bought some okra from a local farmers market. It was too pristine to pass up, unblemished and deeply green. I ended up tossing the whole okra pods in oil and salt and grilling them quickly over high heat. They tasted like …

A few years ago, on a whim, I bought some okra from a local farmers market. It was too pristine to pass up, unblemished and deeply green. I ended up tossing the whole okra pods in oil and salt and grilling them quickly over high heat. They tasted like a cross between blistered shishito peppers and grilled zucchini. A perfect lazy summertime snack.

Some folks avoid okra because it releases a slimy texture when it’s cut into pieces and cooked slowly. However, if you buy okra pods that are small and crisp, and you cook them whole using high heat, the texture isn’t slimy at all. In fact, grilled okra is so enjoyable that it can easily become a mainstay ingredient in your repertoire.

Read More >>