Basic Chinese soup ingredients – Red dates & dried squids

Usually, it is very easy to make a decent pot of soup in our Chinese homes. What we need are :

1) Pork ribs or chicken carcass

2) The vegetables which can be winter melon, white radish, turnip, watercress, any other kind of hardy root vegetables

3) A bulb of garlic

4) Dried squids (as it is cheaper than dried scallops)

5) Red dates

Pepper and salt to taste


The above is the dried squids. Just a couple of tiny pieces will enhance the flavour of the soup


Red date is said to be full of iron. Do remove the seeds before cooking because it is said that it may toxic if left to cook along with the soup. Just a handful like 8-10 red dates is enough.

The combination of the red dates and squid normally brings out a very tasty soup even from bland taste root vegetable like the white radish, turnip (sengkuang) or the various kinds of gourd or melon like winter melon or sharksfin melon.

winter melon soup

When buying dried squids, do ask the shop which is the best type for boiling soup because they have several grades.

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

4 thoughts on “Basic Chinese soup ingredients – Red dates & dried squids


    (July 31, 2007 - 12:24 am)


    Quick question… do you leave the skin on the bulb of garlic or do you peel them off before putting them into the soup?

    Thanks, Lilian.


    (August 2, 2007 - 2:53 pm)

    oo.. i didnt know tt u hav to remove the seeds of the dates for cooking soups…


    (August 8, 2007 - 6:14 pm)

    The red dates look so good. I can even eat it fresh. Where did you buy such nice dates?

    […] I boiled the red radish with soft bones ribs, red dates and dried squid. […]

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