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