Mochi, meals, and more with Daphne Kauahi’ilani Jenkins

Nov 14, 2020 | by Hawnuh Lee

Daphne Kauahi`ilani Jenkins

Photo of Daphne by Taneesha Lucas

Daphne Kauahi`ilani Jenkins is a holistic nutritionist, educator, and artist. Her multicultural identity, and deep appreciation for the cultural and aesthetic significance of food informs all of her work — from nutrition counseling and health coaching, to writing and storytelling. We are obsessed with her artful mochi creations, and we think you will be too. Read on for a peek into her kitchen!

Morning beverage of choice?

Matcha! I love its bright, verdant, grassiness year round! Depending on the season, I may add some nut milk, raw honey, or a pinch of ground cardamom or cinnamon. 

Describe your preferred vessel to drink aforementioned beverage out of.

I love handmade ceramic mugs with smooth, chunky handles. Some of my favorite ones are by local Portland ceramic artist Dina No. 

Go-to knife?

Miyabi Artisan Prep Knife with 5 1/4 inch blade, a gift from my father-in-law-to-be. It feels as though it belongs in my hand and is so easy to wield. I feel super efficient just holding it!  

Necessary object / appliance / tool in your kitchen?

I’m torn between my Vitamix and stainless steel mesh sieves, both have and continue to serve me so well! They’re both smooth-makers when it comes to creating that just-right texture! 

Kitchen object with a story?

I have a print of an old photograph of my maternal grandmother as a young adult eating a bite of what looks like peanut butter-slathered toast. Her younger brother must have taken it, because it’s kind of an intimate image of her mid-bite. I love it so. My mother found it recently, in the past couple years, while cleaning out my grandparents’ house to put it up for sale. It reminds me – she reminds me – to feed myself first, and to enjoy it! 

Gadget you’re not sure why you still have?

I have a Y-peeler for julienning and I don’t know if I’ve ever used it. It’s not that I don’t julienne . . . it’s just that I love chopping so much, I’d much rather do it on the cutting board! 

Describe how your pantry is organized.

Mason jars of all sizes take up a good deal of our pantry. We have a lazy susan corner cabinet where we keep dry goods for baking and some liquid flavor adjusters like vinegar, coconut aminos, sweeteners, and tamari. Then, there’s one cabinet which contains a hodge podge of cereal, canned goods, dry noodles, and hot pink cupcake sprinkles! 

Last impulse produce purchase? Did you make anything with it?

Kyoho grapes. I had never heard of them. Big, sweet, black-ish purple grapes with seeds. Something about them just called to me. The week of Halloween, I used them to make spooky peeled grape eyeball toppers for my Aloha Friday Butter Mochi! 

Top three pantry staples? And ideas for what to do with them?

  • Tamari or soy sauce: Add it to broth, soup, sauces, and almost anything with savory notes to add saltiness and round out the flavor with a bass note of umami. 
  • Apple sauce: I’ve used apple sauce to add texture and sweetness to sauces, soups, and baked goods. It can be a great replacement for eggs when doing vegan or egg-free baking. 
  • Dried seaweed: Nori, wakame, kombu, and dulse are a few of my favorites. I used toasted nori to make my own furikake seasoning – which is great on popcorn, by the way. Kombu, wakame and dulse add delicious minerality, saltiness, and umami to vegetable broths. I’ve also eaten mineral-rich dulse right out of the bag. 

Special pantry item that’s nice to have on hand?

Sichuan chili oil. Yum. 

Must have condiment?

Annie’s Organic Ketchup. That’s right. I said it. 

If you were something currently in your fridge…

Italian Plum BBQ Sauce made by @olaterrarium. It hits all the right notes! 

Clean as you go or save it for later?

Clean as you go. Always. 

Any current kitchen experiments happening?

For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a little homemade butter mochi – and coco(nut) mochi – bake sale offered to my Instagram followers who are local. The process of dreaming up, crafting and creating flavors each week has been bringing so much joy, connection, and community into my life. 

Trusted recipe book or site?

I adore Alana Kysar’s 2019 cookbook, The Aloha Kitchen. I was born and raised on O`ahu admist a rich multicultural community filled with delicious traditional cultural foods from various cultures and “fusion” foods from multiple cultural influences. Kysar does such a great job of cataloging nearly every delicious dish I remember eating growing up in Hawai`i. I appreciate the research she did as well as all the recipe testing she must have done to make each recipe so doable and each and every dish taste just like home. 

Scrappy kitchen tip to share?

Save your veggie compost scraps, freeze them, and when you’re ready, add them to a stock pot with some dried kombu seaweed to make veggie stock!

Thanks Daphne! Can’t wait to see what you whip up next. Portland folx, you can order her weekly Friday mochi over on Instagram. <3


2 thoughts on “Mochi, meals, and more with Daphne Kauahi’ilani Jenkins”

  1. My daughter, Daphne has found a wonderful way to express her aloha for food and creates “onolicious” looking dishes. I yearn to be able to taste and smell her creations first hand. Some day I’ll visit Daphne to get that first hand experience. Mahalo ke Akua


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