KKKK Salad a la Marketman (Katuray, Kangkong, Kalabasa at Kamatis)


It’s not often that I come across a salad made out of flowers from a tree (katuday), water spinach from a swamp (kangkong), male winter squash flowers (bulaklak ng kalabasa) and tomatoes (kamatis). In fact, the first time I tasted this salad was just a few months ago on a trip to the Ilocos region. It was served to us at Sitio Remedios and it was one of the few good things about our stay at that resort. Once back in Manila, I vowed to try and replicate this wonderful salad and I daresay I not only replicated it, I liked our home version better. I know this recipe will strike many of you as being bizarre or possibly odd-tasting, but let me tell you, it is one of the best pinoy dishes I have tasted this year. One of the best! Thanks to the cook of Sitio Remedios for the inspiration, and here is Marketman’s recipe and critical tips for a super KKKK salad…


Purchase the finest (freshest) ingredients (katuday, kangkong, kalabasa flowers and kamatis). Next, remove the stamen(?) in the middle of the katuray flowers and shred each flower into say 3-4 pieces. Wash this carefully and set aside. Next cut small pieces of kangkong (I used chinese kangkong with the smller leaves), using only the tips for aesthetic reasons, wash well and set aside. Remove the stamens from the kalabasa flowers and shred into 3-4 pieces per flower. Leave about half of the squash flowers whole but with stamens also removed. Slice a few small tomatoes into medium sized pieces. Next boil water in a medium sized that is about half full. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl (half ice cubes and half water). Do not skip ice bath step! If you don’t do it the dish will suffer. Trust me on this. And few Ilocanos probably bother with the ice bath. But its worth it. Blanch the katuray flowers for about 1-2 minutes in the boiling water. Remove and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Remove the katuray and do the same for the squash flowers. Then the kangkong. Drain these well and if you are a bit anal, dry on some paper towels.


Next in your serving dish, toss all of the ingredients including the sliced tomatoes. The balance of greens and flowers and fruit is up to you; but I used about 4 parts kangkong, 2 parts squash flowers, 1 part katuray and 2 parts tomatoes. A lot of this will depend on your personal likes and dislikes regarding the vegetables in the salad, but I also tried to balance the ingredients so that it looked good as well. Put this in the fridge until chilled, or at least an hour before serving. Next, make your salad dressing. Traditionally, I believe the Ilocanos use their fish bagoong and some native vinegar. I altered this a bit as I find the after taste of the fish bagoong a bit strong. I simply mixed Ilocano vinegar with some good patis and the juice of one kalamansi and salt and pepper, then tossed the salad with the dressing just before serving.


This salad was unusually good. The textures were unexpected and very interesting. The coldness of the dish will be a surprise for first timers. The flavors range from sweet to ever so slightly bitter, texture from crunchy (kangkong stems) to mushy. The salad was fresh, light, bracing, and incredibly delicious. I am amazed that this salad doesn’t show up in more restaurant menus. It was a total revelation. I LOVED IT. And a word for folks who make this for the first time. Follow the tips in this post. Use an ice bath, toss in proportions that suit you, dress the salad at the last minute and serve it as a complement to fried or grilled dishes dishes such as fish, bagnet, etc. This is definitely among our favorite pinoy salads now, along with:

Tomato & Red Egg Salad
Grilled Eggplant Salad
Pako Salad / Fiddlehead Ferns
Mustasa Salad with Bagoong at Kalamansi
Green Mango Salad/Relish
Paho Salad with Tomatoes and Onions
Kinilaw na Guso at Lato / Seaweed Salad
Ampalaya Salad
Cucumber Salad with Visayan Vinaigrette



33 Responses

  1. looks absolutely good and must taste good as well, healthy too. are katuray and squash flowers readily available in wet markets at all times, or are they seasonal?

  2. sonia, I find they are pretty seasonal, though I have noticed katuray in the markets for the past two months. There are other times of the year that they are not to be found…

  3. this is a very nutritious salad i must say.
    i used to put them all together in a foil wrap,kamatis including, close the wrap tightly and grill the whole wrap for about 10 mins. when ready to serve, open the wrap and pour in the bagoong/vinegar/kalamansi dressing. if i have some young okra i throw them in the wrap as well. so yummy with grilled tilapia or bangus. it’s just sad that we cannot buy fresh katuday here in canada. thank you for the post, mm.

  4. What a gorgeous looking salad! And your fotos made me want to lick the computer screen.

    That settles it. I’m booking a flight to Manila. It’s the only way I can taste this beauty! And I guess I will have to continue on to Ilocosland. That’s Ok cuz my favorite
    Ilocana is in Camiling. There is something special about Ilocanas…..they are very soft.

  5. Thanks for this, MM. I sometimes see katuray and squash flowers in the market and always wondered how to use them. Your salad is a feast for the eye as well.

  6. I have seen the katuray flowers in markets here in Brunei but would not know how to deal with it. Will try to make your salad recipe soon. Perhaps, will try it with belacan (the local fish paste) and sliced red chillis.

  7. I love pinoy salads. Sure, a good caesar or waldorf salad is yummy, but nothing hits the spot like a good mix of local veggies.

    This is the kind of post that reminds me that with just a little effort, we can all eat healthy and delicious food, and for so much less money. Great photo, btw.

  8. MM, Your photo is so real…and I can literally taste the salad with your write-up. And to think I have not even tasted Katuray!!!

    MM, you think I can find katuray in Carbon? If only I had a Victor like you!!!

  9. thanks for the post on katuray and this salad, i don’t have an idea what katuray is before i got to read your post. and since i am trying to eat healthy nowadays, i hope to do the recipe. i think that is would be healthy on my pockets too! as compared to the lettuce i buy at the grocery. i just hope to find katuray but if i can’t, what substitute can i use? would ampalaya work kaya? btw, the dressing is so simple, i can do this with my very limited cooking skills hehehe…

  10. I love Pinoy salads and y our photo does look so real…I love squash and kangkong but first time I’ve heard of katuray. It definitely looks Yummy and will try this dish for a healthy treat.

  11. Thanks for this post, MM. I always learn something from your posts. I have never encountered katuray or perhaps, I did already but I didn’t know it was katuray. Interesting…

  12. solraya, yes, I have seen the pink/magenta ones, they look nice. allen, hahaha, I really have to do a flower post soon… colouredlight, I think its because the stamens can make the dish bitter? But I am guessing, not really knowing why… nina, elaine, titashi et al…it was a really good, healthy and economical salad to make… artisan, I haven’t seen it in Cebu, but other Visayan islands seem to have it so maybe Cebu does as well… Myra P, you got it, this is beautiful, delicious, chic if you ask me, and budget friendly… Maricel, flaked tinapa souns brilliant. Jasmine and Lyna, two readers from Brunei, cool… Em Dy, add kalamansi and it would be 6K!

  13. Back home in Ilocos, my aunt would also add those short deep green colored sitaw (we call it “tudo” because they are straight and firm) which is different from the sitaw one normally gets in the Tagalog region. Now you are making me very hungry.

  14. This salad looks so yummy! Am reading your post at 7 in the morning and i’d like to have the delicious looking salad for breakfast. wish i weren’t in the office so i could run off to the wet market to buy the ingredients. gotta have this salad, soon. thanks for the beautiful photos, too, MM.

  15. MM,You’re right about the bitter taste when you include the stamens in your cooking.I have done this as I didn’t know that you had to take the stamens off.

    Your salad looks gorgeous! I also like sauteing all kinds of edible flowers with just garlic,salt and pepper.Grabeng sarap!

  16. Hej MM,

    You did it again! Made us learn something new. Thank you for your infinite curiosity!
    I think I’ve seen these katuray flowers in some markets out in the provinces ages ago, but never took the time to ask what they were for.

    Your foto is so appetizingly good that I could almost taste the salad. I know why you insist on the ice bath – the vibrant colours of the veggies and flowers are kept intact as well as the “crunchiness” or is there another reason for doing this?

  17. edel, you can get katuray at most large wet markets, I got mine at the FTI Taguig market. Rowi, the ice bath is to stop the cooking and keep the color vibrant. If you skip the ice bath, the salad looks more blah and wilted…sheryl, it is ilocano, it mentions that in the post above…

  18. I just came from a Malaysian restaurant last weekend, and the owner knowing its my first time, serve me a special home made sauce which she did not say what it was. My texas husband asked me to taste it first to see what was on it. Oh, hahaha, it was “sauteed bagoong” with lots of fresh tomatoes added and mixed with what I think if rice vinegar and little sugar. I told myself this can will go good with some sorts of Pinoy greens salad.. and this morning, here’s your site with confirmation of what I have in my taste palette. I am not sure if they have katuray blossoms here in the Oriental store and the squash flowers are only sold rarely. Gosh, I would have to come up with something else. Nakakainggit naman.

  19. This is deffinitely a must try. Now where to buy katuray flowers is a challenge. We where just talking about the katuray tree the other day. They say its bad luck to see one from a window in your house. That’s why its normally planted where there are now homes around. Trivia…

  20. I remember my dad preparing this dish before. He used camote leaves instead of kangkong and kalamansi instead of vinegar. We also added thin slivers of shallots or onions, even spring onions(whatever is available)to this.

  21. can u please name some health benefits from this wonderful and very healthy foods??? anybody, pls…



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