More often than not, several foodies worldwide perceive two classic American staple dishes to be similar. However they are not entirely wrong in doing so, as both share a basic formula. This article aims to clarify the perplexity of these two comfort food dishes for most Americans: Country fried steak and Chicken fried steak.
Country Fried Steak vs Chicken Fried Steak
The main difference between country-fried steak and chicken-fried steak is the color and ingredients used to make the gravy. The brown gravy used to dish out country-fried steak is made from meat and vegetables, whereas chicken-fried steak employs white creamy or sausage gravy produced using eggs.
Typically, Country fried steak is a breaded cube steak with a smothered outer coating and dished out with onions and brown gravy. Introduced to the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century, it has acquired the title of a staple dish, especially in Southern states of America.
Chicken fried steak is also a breaded cube steak, but the egg is used in its preparation and is dished out with peppery white creamy gravy. Adored with a crunchy outer coat, it is the modified form of country-fried steak.
Comparison Table Between Country Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Steak
|Parameters of Comparison||Country Fried Steak||Chicken Fried Steak|
|Definition||Prepared with breaded cube steak and dished out with onions and brown gravy||Chicken fried steak is prepared with breaded cube steak along with the eggs and dished out with creamy white gravy|
|Regional Strongholds||Southern American states viz., Georgia, Louisiana, Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi||Central United states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri|
|Time of Origin||Middle nineteenth century||Early twentieth century|
|Gravy Color||Brown||Peppery white|
|Outer Coating||Simple and less crispy||Crispier made from a mixture of flour, different seasonings|
What is Country Fried Steak?
Country fried steak is a staple food dish in southern parts of the United States of America that is prepared with cube steak and dished out with onions and brown gravy. Brown gravy is made of the drippings from the roasted meat cooked and reduced on high heat with vegetables like celery leek, cabbages, etc.
A mixture of water combined with either flour or cornstarch helps it thicken. It is generally served over white rice or mashed potatoes. The cooking method of this dish is based on ‘Wiener schnitzel,’ a German dish brought to southern America by immigrants in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Lower prices and the convenient recipe have made it popular since its introduction. Cutting this dish into strips leads to preparing what we call ‘Steak fingers,’ generally served with French fries and Texas toast.
What is Chicken Fried Steak?
Chicken fried steak is a more recent tweak of Country fried steak, which started gaining popularity in and around the early twentieth century. In contrast to its name, beef is used to prepare chicken fried steak instead of chicken. The word ‘Chicken’ refers to how it is prepared, just like the conventional fried chicken.
It is a tenderized cheap cut of beef or a cube steak coated with egg batter and dredged in the flour with salt, pepper, and other such spices. After accompanying with deep-frying, it is served with white creamy or sausage gravy. Chicken fried steak has a thick flour crust, making it all the more robust and crunchy when fried deep.
Main Differences Between Country Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Steak
- Country fried chicken originated much earlier than the chicken fried steak. The former was introduced to the United States in the middle of the 19th century, and the origin is traced to Germany. Chicken fried steak is a comparatively recent version of country fried steak modified in the early 20th century.
- Both dishes are popular in different areas of the United States. Country fried steak is most popular in Southern American states viz., Georgia, Louisiana, Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, etc.. In contrast, Chicken fried steak is preferred by the people of Central United States, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.
- Country fried steak is a dish prepared with breaded cube steak and garnished with onions and brown gravy, whereas chicken fried steak is also dished out from breaded steak but contains egg as well.
- The color of gravy and the ingredients used in its synthesis are also distinct for both dishes. A brown-colored gravy with onions for garnishing is associated with country-fried steak. On the other hand, chicken fried steak has peppery white creamy gravy made from the eggs. A few regions are exceptions to this, where even a chicken fried steak is served with brown gravy.
- The outer coating of the steaks of these dishes varies a lot in its crispiness. Country fried steak has a simple and smothered coating, whereas chicken fried steak has a crisp outer coating. Gravy is served along the side in the case of chicken fried steak, adding to its crispiness, unlike country fried steak, where the dish is served only after it is absorbed completely.
Hence, these dishes prepared from a piece of steak dipped in batter, fried in a cast-iron skillet, and covered with gravy may sound similar, that too, when the number of ingredients used in the preparation process is identical. However, these are two distinct dishes that have a lot in common.
The most appropriate way to say this is that the chicken fried steak has been derived from the conventional country fried steak thereby having some variations and similarities with its ancestral version.
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