So I came home after being away for the Easter break, and had my usual shock-horror response when I saw the contents of my refrigerator crisper, which I'd totally forgotten about before I left. Even though I've never made kimchi before, I decided to make it out of the things that most desperately needed using: a bag of discounted coleslaw mix I'd bought on impulse, a bunch of bok choy whose outer leaves were beginning to wilt, carrots, and a couple of bunches of spring (green) onions that were papery on the outside but still had sweet and tender centres. I followed Maangchi's instructions for the Emergency Kimchi (and using up these vegetables was an emergency!) and a short time later, kimchi! OK, so obviously, this is not a purist's kimchi, but it's good. Although it's not yet fermented, this is like a million plus a million times better than any kimchi I've ever had in a restaurant or out of a purchased box. The salting process totally removed the bitterness from the bok choy, and the flavours are rounded and full.
So I started thinking: can you make kimchi out of anything? I'm not thinking delicate, frail vegetables like lettuce, obviously, but what about other vegetables? I'd love to experiment with, say, pumpkin, or broccoli stalks, or anything that will stand up to the salting and fermentation process.
I'd love to hear your thoughts (and yes, I will make a proper, traditional kimchi very soon)!