I bought some taro root to experiment with. These were frozen, and after dethawing were quite soft. I diced them, then put them into a pan with simmering coconut milk for half an hour or so. I added some honey and vanilla extract, then chilled it. It tastes pretty good, but a lot of the recipes I looked up online say to boil and drain them first to draw out/deactivate the oxalates.
My question is, are the oxalates destroyed by the thorough heating, or does the boiling simply draw the crystals into the water, which then must be discarded? Will I have problems because I simply cooked the taro in coconut milk, then consumed both of them?
Taro root and many other veggies have both soluble and insoluble oxalate. When you boil them, the soluble oxalate leaches out of the veggie into the boiling water. You must then throw out the boiling water. The oxalate is not deactivated in any way. It has just moved places. The insoluble oxalate is still in the root/veggie. Most people's bodies will deal with the left-over oxalate, but not all people's bodies will. If you find that you have a lot of itching, burning sensations in your mouth after eating the taro root, or in the genital/anal region up to three days later--don't eat it anymore! This also goes for other high oxalate foods such as rhubarb, spinach, almonds (and most other nuts), chocolate and sweet potatoes.