Mix cornstarch and water together in a large bowl until dissolved. Add soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and salt. Mix in chicken; cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator, about 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep-fat fryer. Fry taro until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and ginger; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken; cook and stir until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer chicken mixture to a large saucepan. Add fried taro. Pour in enough water to cover 3/4 of the mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and basil. Season with salt and sugar.
Taro is also known as dasheen; you can find it in Caribbean and Asian specialty stores.
Substitute 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce for the light soy sauce if desired.
We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.
Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.
Per Serving: 766 calories;67.2 g fat;
22.7 g carbohydrates;
24.9 g protein;
68 mg cholesterol;
1471 mg sodium.