This rice dish is emblematic of all the recipes in this book—the story of the spice trade along the Indian Ocean, the story of Arab settlers in East Africa, and the story of inexpensive ingredients turned into something with so much flavor. Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of mainland Tanzania, is home to about a million people. It sits at the heart of the trade routes between East Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and the cooking in Zanzibar reflects this incredible mix of cultures. The name pilau, just like the term pilaf, derives from the Persian term polow, which is rice mixed with things like spices, nuts, and meat. This dish is also very similar to Bariis (see Basmati Rice Pilaf with Raisins, page 87 of In Bibi's Kitchen) but is made with coconut milk and without tomato or raisins. If you are vegan, feel free to substitute coconut oil or olive oil for the butter.