How can the same dish be both spicy and cool, you ask? Executive Chef Yousef Ghalaini of Fig at the Fairmont Hotel here in Santa Monica explains that it’s all about the spices — Vadouvan and Calabrian chili, paired against the cool sauce — cucumber yogurt with mint. This recipe is great as a side dish or entrée for a vegetarian night. This can even be made vegan if you omit the yogurt.
I can’t wait for you guys to try this. It’s totally going to up your kitchen game!
Servings: 2-4 as a side dish
• 1 large sized butternut squash, peeled, split down the middle, and seeded, or about 2 pounds of pre-peeled and pre-diced squash
• 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 2 Tbsp Vadouvan curry powder
• 6 sprigs fresh thyme
• 1 Tbsp Calabrian chili paste (you can use more or less depending on your heat tolerance, this amount will give it a great chili flavor with gentle heat)
• 2 Meyer lemons, zested and juice reserved
• 1 cup greek yogurt
• 1 tsp minced fresh mint
• Sea Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large mixing bowl, place butternut squash, the first 2 TBS of olive oil, Vadouvan, fresh thyme, and some sea salt.
3. Mix thoroughly and place on a baking sheet (you may have to use two baking sheets — the trick is to not crowd the squash in order to get it to roast evenly on all sides and not steam it)
4. Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or tip of knife inserted in the center of the biggest chunk comes out clean.
5. While squash is cooking — make the yogurt dressing by combining the yogurt with the mint and the last Tbsp of olive oil, season with salt to taste.
6. Remove Squash from oven and rest for a few minutes.
7. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice and Calabrian chili paste together and distribute evenly over the squash.
8. To plate, remove the thyme stems from the squash, use a spatula to remove from the baking dish and layer onto your favorite serving dish, garnish with a few dollops of yogurt sauce and some fresh mint.
Follow Chef Yousef Ghalaini on Instagram @lebanesechef.