Many plants used in recipes around the world contain compounds that if not transformed by heat could be harmful to humans when consumed in large amounts. Cooking times are important for these ingredients. Oftentimes only a few minutes of heating are required.
A common example is the leaf spinach sold in American grocery stores and around the world. This plant contains oxalate compounds that can cause kidney stones if not cooked. Many foods in the American and global food supply fit in this category.
Always when trying new foods research thoroughly and seek out global culture-of-origin recipes that include the ingredient as an indicator of safety and proper preparation.
Check out this WebMD article on oxalates.