It's a tradition in Japan to eat eel rice on Midsummers day to ward off summer fatigue! Even when you don't have an appetite, the shiso leaf and sushi rice in this eel chirasizushi is refreshing and easy to eat.
Cook the rice so it's a bit firmer than usual.
Make the finely shredded egg, referring to (Recipe ID: 1056402). I used 3 sheets of usuyaki tamago (very thin omelet).
Finely julienne the cucumber and 3 of the shiso leaves. Put the remaining 2 shiso leaves in a bowl of cold water, and pat them dry just before serving.
Mix the chirashizushi mix, sesame seeds and julienned shiso leaves into the rice while it's still hot using a cut and fold motion, and cool it down by fanning it with a fan to make it shiny.
As the rice cools, warm up the eel and cut into easy to eat pieces.
Refer to (Recipe ID: 1167808) for instructions for how to best heat up pre-cooked eel.
Put the rice into a serving bowl or dish and top with the kinshi tamago (shredded omelet), cucumber, the reserved whole shiso leaves and the eel. Add some shredded nori seaweed and shiso pepper to taste.
It's also good without cucumber.
See this recipe for suggestions on how to heat up pre-cooked eel (Recipe ID: 1167808).
When you have leftover eel, turn it into umaki - eel filled omelettes (Recipe ID: 1167807).
Story Behind this Recipe
I love "Himatsubushi" (an eel and rice dish that's the speciality of a famous restaurant in Nagoya), but a restaurant on a certain shopping street was serving eel on top of buckwheat rice. That made me completely rethink my preconception that eel had to be served with plain white rice, and got me thinking about new recipes. The acidity of the vinegar in the sushi rice whets your appetite and may help combat summer fatigue.
It's better to cook your rice so it's a little firmer than usual, to avoid it getting too wet and sticky. The usual ratio of chirashi sushi seasoning is 1 pack to 1.5 rice cooker cups of rice, but that's too strong so I used half that amount. Peeled sesame seeds have a better texture. If you soak the cucumber in water it will become crispier and any bitterness will dissipate.