Momiji no tempura - Deep fried Japanese maple leaves.
In the Kansai region around Õsaka, momiji leaves are collected fresh off the trees and then stored in a salt barrel for twelve months before being deep fried in a crispy sweet batter with sesame seeds added.
This is a tradition that can be traced back to the Genroku era (1688-1704). It was a popular dish in the Amagasaki domain at Amagasaki castle.
Tempura was originally brought to Japan by Portuguese Jesuits in the late 1500’s. The Japanese word actually comes from the Latin “tempora” which refers to the Christian Easter fasting period called “lent” - quattuor tempora in Portuguese.