First things first, there’s no chicken in this dish. Called Chicken-Fried Steak or fondly referred to as CFS, pan fried steak or country fried steak, it’s basically tenderized beef cube steak, which has been breaded or floured, then fried (like fried chicken, hence the name), and finally served with gravy and/or mashed potatoes, greens, black-eye peas and cornbread. Filling, satisfying and deeply addictive, this is not the food for those looking to lose weight or eat healthy. But we thought a few tweaks might be in order so that you can enjoy this iconic American dish without worrying about calories, saturated fat and salt.

Read on to find out how you make CFS healthier without losing out on the taste:

  • Start with lean, grass-fed beef steaks, which you can tenderize with papaya powder or fresh pineapple extract, or simply place between sheets of waxed paper before pounding with a meat mallet.
  • When dipping your steaks in a mixture of milk and eggs, replace with low-fat milk and use only egg whites. Or replace with fat-free buttermilk, which has 284 milligrams of calcium per cup and makes for a great vegetarian option.
  • Avoid dredging the steaks in nutritionally deprived, white processed flour, and use nut flours like almond flour, which is moist, delicious and gluten-free. If you’re allergic to nuts, try a combination of cornmeal, whole wheat flour and a wee bit of cornstarch instead.
  • Don’t shallow fry in loads of oil, let alone in lard. Instead use cooking spray to lightly coat your pan before you gently brown the steaks on both sides.
  • When making gravy, don’t create a roux with butter and flour, to which you will add milk since these simply up your calorie intake and are full of fat. Just substitute with low-sodium beef broth and add powdered arrowroot for thickening. This will give you darker, lighter yet satisfying gravy.
  • For the mashed potato accompaniment, use mashed cauliflower instead. While you will barely be able to tell the difference in taste, you will reap the health benefits of this nutritious veg, filled with compounds that blood pressure and kidney function, promote heart health and keep inflammation in check.

PS: Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
Quick and easy 
Nutrition tips here.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.