The Japanese celebration of the first cherry blossom of spring, Hanami, is of course legendary. But the Japanese are well known for their celebration of all aspects of nature, Sun & Moon festivals, water, fire and the seasons. This goes back to their home grown, atavistic Shinto belief system. In autumn and particularly in
The Japanese maple is called "momiji" (もみじ), and
is famous for its momiji
tempura. Minoo is also known for its Japanese maples. And there's a long
history of momiji tempura in Minoo
with accounts saying the food was first prepared over a thousand
years ago. The red leaves are said to make the tempura an interesting
The Japanese word "momiji" is said to have two meanings, both of them appropriate for the description of this wonderful tree: "baby's hands" and "becomes crimson leaves." Depending upon the cultivated variety, the maple leaves can either be broad, flat and palm-shaped, or lacy, but whichever type it is, it does resemble baby’s hands. Well, polydactyloid baby's hands but you get the picture.
Although the relationship goes back thousands of years, the Japanese Red Maple has been cultured intensively for ‘only’ 300 years. This maple is native to
It is also a popular bonsai subject in Japan.
At maturity, these amazing trees can reach heights varying from two to over
thirty feet. Waiting for the leaves to fall before harvesting is therefore a
jolly good idea.
Tempura Japanese Maple Leaves Recipe
1. Clean Japanese red maple leaves with a wet towel
2. Make tempura batter (see recipe)
3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan to 350 F degree
4. Lightly dip one side of a Japanese maple leaf in the batter
5. Immediately fry them until brown
6. Drain tempura on a rack
1. Beat 1 egg in a bowl
2. Add 1 cup ice water
3. Add 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
4. Mix Lightly (Be careful not to overmix)