Chicken with Spiced Masala (aka Chicken Tikka)

for the Masala
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

for the Chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, deboned and cubed in 2″ squares
1 13 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
1 1/2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

For the Masala: heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until deep golden, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and all spices; stir 1 minute. Cool to lukewarm. Puree tomatoes with juices and yogurt in processor until almost smooth. Add onions mixture; puree until almost smooth. Season masala to taste with salt and pepper. Up until this step can be made a day ahead, or frozen.

For the chicken: Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add cubed chicken breast and sauté until partially cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, cilantro, green onions, lemon juice and prepared masala. Simmer until chicken is fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, over steamed basmati rice.

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