This is definitely not the best joke you’d ever heard, but despite their name, spring onions are good all year round. They have those notorious undeveloped bulbs at the bottom and are often mistaken for chives (another allium among other well known bigger brothers like common onion, garlic, leek). These two really look and taste almost identical and surely can be easily substituted for one another. The difference though is quite radical: spring onions have tubular leaves while chives are blade-like and solid. Though we should admit that it hardly even matters…
Spring onions are also known as scallions and green onions. But there are quite a few others that, to an untrained botanist, look very much alike. Like walking or Egyptian onions, bunching or Welsh onions, calçot (from the Catalan language), Chinese scallions, garlic chives. People all over the world love spring onions and incorporate this vegetable in their daily diet. Koreans, for instance, love to cook pa-kimchi. This is a type of kimchi made with tender scallions. They use a special variety but, frankly, any will do just fine.
Clean 500 g / 1 lb of spring onions, wash them thoroughly and drain well. In a bowl, mix together 4 Tbsp of Korean chili pepper (knows as gochugaru to all foodies around the world), 4 Tbsp of fish sauce, 1 Tbsp of finely minced garlic, 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of finely minced ginger. If you are lucky to get dried squid (absolutely optional, but very lovely ingredient to have in pa-kimchi), slice 80 g / 3 ounce of it and add to the mix. Then rub everything all over the onions until evenly coated and keep them like this at room temperature. Then place in an airtight container and put in a fridge to develop the flavour for 2 to 3 weeks.
When ready, use as an appetizer or create an even better dish – a warm and hearty, spicy and kicking chicken soup. All you need is basically a regular chicken stock made with 1 l / 4 cups of water, 500 g / 1 lb of chicken, ¼ medium onion, 2 green onions, and 3-4 garlic cloves. Bring everything together, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Discard everything, leaving the chicken. Shred it into pieces, season with salt and pepper. In the same pot, heat 1 Tbsp of sesame oil, add 1 Tbsp of Korean chili pepper (yes, you can substitute it with red pepper flakes) and stir well, until chilli becomes pasty. To this, add 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of minced garlic, then add the reserved chicken stock with the meat. Bring the soup to a boil and top it off with extra 3-4 spring onions to celebrate the spiciness and the onion-ness. Serve with rice, it will help to bring the heat down a little.