Tamarind is a cornerstone ingredient in Khmer cuisine, celebrated for its sour and slightly sweet flavor profile. It is extensively used in Cambodian cooking to add depth and tanginess to soups, stews, marinades, and sauces. The pulp of the tamarind fruit is often dissolved in water to create a concentrate that imparts a distinct tartness, balancing the flavors in dishes such as fish amok and tamarind duck.

This versatile ingredient not only enhances the taste of food but also contributes nutritional benefits, including antioxidants and vitamin C. Tamarind's role in Khmer cuisine exemplifies the tradition of using natural, locally sourced ingredients to create complex, flavorful dishes characteristic of Cambodia's culinary heritage.