I love Taegu! If you’re not familiar with Korean Taegu (Seasoned Dried Codfish) it’s sweet, spicy, fishy and delicious! It’s traditionally served as a side dish but it’s always been more of a snack to me.
One day when I was grabbing a tray of prepared Taegu from the supermarket I noticed that MSG was an ingredient present in every brand on the shelf. Now, I’m not allergic to MSG, but someone in my family gets serious headaches if they eat something with it added in. While trying to figure out how to make my own MSG-Free Taegu using dried Codfish, it hit me – why not dry O’io meat?
We catch a lot of O’io in Ewa Beach – I’ve made my share of Lomi, fishcakes and fish patties! If you’ve got an O’io in your freezer and you’re looking for something new to make with it, I know you’ll enjoy this recipe.
Bruddah Bill’s O’io Taegu
1 Cup Scraped or Squeezed O’io Meat
1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt
For info on getting the meat from an O’io see this post: O’io Prep & Fishcake Recipe
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes
2 Teaspoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds
Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature possible. I’ve heard that 170 is the magic number from my friends that make dried Aku in the oven, so that’s what I always cook at.
Mix together your O’io meat and Sea Salt thoroughly, as the salt helps with seasoning as well as with the drying process. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spread the salted O’io meat with a spatula into a rectangle no taller than 1/4 inch high, but still not too thin or the meat will dry crispy.
Dry the meat in your oven for 2 to 3 hours with something non-flammable, propping the oven door open 1″ to 2″ to allow moisture to escape. If this is your first time using your oven at the lowest temperature to dry something, check the meat 10 minutes in. If the meat is white and cooked then your oven is too hot for drying.
While your meat is drying, combine all the sauce ingredients thoroughly until the sugar dissolves and the oil and honey blend completely.
When the meat is dried, cut it into thin strips with a sharp knife, combine with the sauce, and let it sit at room temperature for several hours to allow the dried strips to absorb the seasoning and color from the sauce. Chill to allow the honey to thicken and evenly coat the strips. Serve and enjoy!