A Tempest of Flavor

Columns Veg'n Out

April 21, 2013

Story By: Terri Hefner | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

They’re cooking up a storm at Monsoon India in Waikiki, where flavor is an under-statement when it comes to the mouthwatering array of authentic appetizers, breads, soups, curries, biryanis and kababs, which are as exotic on the palate as their names imply.

And when it comes to satisfying those of us who choose not to eat meat or fish, Indian food shines.

Monsoon India’s extensive menu has a whole section devoted to “Vegetarian Dishes,” and there are meatless delicacies scattered across the rest of the menu, so there’s plenty to choose from here, and co-owner Imran Khan recommends a couple of his favorites to Dining Out readers.

“Our roasted eggplant is very popular,” says Khan, referring to Baingan Bartha ($15.95). “It’s fire-roasted, we cook it in a clay oven, then we cook it with onions and tomatoes.” The result is so rich in flavor that you’ll be tempted to lick the plate clean. It’s richly spiced but not too hot, so if you like it fiery, just tell your server.

“One of the most healthy dishes on our vegetarian menu is Sookhi Sabzi ($14.95),” says Khan, who notes that sookhi translates to “dry,” but that only means there’s no sauce or gravy. The curry flavor is there in all its glory to enhance the seasonal vegetable mix that includes carrots, cauliflower, green peas and potatoes — and, adds Khan, “the vegetables are very fresh, no frozen vegetables.” Both dishes are served with rice.

And don’t forget: Mother’s Day is May 12, so if Mom has a taste for the exotic, just breeze on over to Monsoon India for its Mother’s Day special. Call for more information.

Monsoon India

1778 Ala Moana Blvd., Waikiki
Open daily, 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, noon-2 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best