Easy, tasty “semi-homemade” chai.

"Semi-homemade" egg nog chai. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

San Jose’s winter and early spring are the perfect seasons for cup after cup of hot tea and tea-based beverages.  These drinks don’t have to be difficult or fussy; you can use certain packaged beverage products to flavor your tea and produce easy, delicious hot drinks. How about a cup of super-easy, almost-instant chai?

In recent years, the American habit of “doctoring up” convenience foods with fresh ingredients went from a sort of “guilty secret” to television feature, with Sandra Lee’s cooking show, called Semi-Homemade, on Food Network. Although from-scratch meals are still the ideal, Sandra Lee reminded us that the long-standing American home cooking style can produce nutritious, flavorful, and unpretentious meals and beverages, if the quality of the ingredients is high. One custom-made coffee-shop and restaurant recipe which can be imitated at home in the “semi-homemade” style, is the tea-based beverage, chai.

“Semi-homemade” Chai

purchased egg nog (any brand, preferably low-fat or nonfat)
loose black tea leaves or good-quality unflavored black tea bags

For a pot of chai, bring a kettle of water to the boil, and warm an earthenware teapot with hot tap water. When the water boils, empty the hot tap water from the teapot, add 1 tablespoon of loose tea leaves, and fill the teapot with boiling water. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the egg nog over low heat to prevent curdling, until it is warmed through. When the tea has steeped, strain out the tea leaves, and fill the teacups ¾ of the way full. Top each cup up with warmed egg nog, stir, and enjoy!
— from the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild.

While chai isn’t all that hard to make from scratch, it can take more effort than you may want to put into a simple mug of chai.  Unflavored black tea is readily available from San Jose area vendors.  Egg nog, and even dairy-free Silk Nog, is now available in almost all San Jose area supermarkets.  During the holidays, many families keep a carton of eggnog in the fridge, so it can easily be used to make a speedy cup of chai in no more time than it takes to make a regular cup of tea!

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more info: “How to brew the perfect pot of black tea, part 1″
“How to brew the perfect pot of black tea, part 2”
“Chai and how to make it”
“Eggnog recipe ideas”
“Review: Egg Nog black tea blend from the Necessiteas”
“San Jose area tea vendors.”
“Chai tea latte recipe.”
“My guru’s traditional chai tea.”

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