Make the marinade by mixing together the sugar, salt, soy sauce and cornflour slurry. Mix in the chicken, allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan or deep-fat fryer with oil. Deep-fry the taro until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a frying pan with 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Stir-fry the shallots and ginger for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
Pour chicken mixture and taro in a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover 3/4 of the ingredients. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn down the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and basil and stir well. Adjust the seasoning accordingly, with salt and sugar.
Taro is also known as dasheen, you can find it in Caribbean and Oriental speciality stores.