Books, Cooking, Food, Recipe

Eat This While You Read That: Ryk Spoor

Inner Beauty Eggs-1

When I asked Ryk for a dish, he sent me not just one, but two recipes. You make one to make the other. It took me quite some time to get ’round to making it, and part of the reason was the ingredient pictured above. Habanero peppers…

But before I get into the recipes, let’s talk about the books I’d recommend with this recipe. I first became aware of Spoor’s writing in a collection, Mountain Magic, where his story of the gnomes that had been part of the Oz story leapt off the page in an enchanted retelling of a childhood favorite. His later book Grand Central Arena showed me that he could equally master Space Opera. Ryk recommended that I try Phoenix Rising, which I had missed, and I will have to pick it up and add it to the list.

Now that you have your reading material, let’s get started! I’m hoping that the lovely papaya I selected is the right kind, as I learned while shopping for them that there are two sorts, one very large, and the other as you see, about the size of two apples together. It’s got such pretty colors.

Inner Beauty Eggs-2

*Inner Beauty Sauce*

Ryk Spoor sent me this recipe, telling me:  This sauce used to be commercially available, but the company went out of business many years ago. It took me a decade to reproduce it, partly because the online recipes for it got one crucial part completely wrong. Inner Beauty Sauce is a papaya and mustard-based hot sauce based on a number of Caribbean sauces. This is the recipe I use:

  •                 Ingredients:
  •                 6+ fresh habaneros
  •                 2 ripe papayas
  •                 Pineapple Juice
  •                 Orange juice
  •                 Canola Oil
  •                 Molasses
  •                 Honey
  •                 1 cup cheap yellow mustard
  •                 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  •                 1/4 cup white vinegar
  •                 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  •                 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  •                 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  •                 salt and pepper to taste


The number of habaneros is of course the determinant of the hotness of the sauce. Some of the original recipes call for 12 habaneros, but for general consumption I’ve found 6 sufficient. If you like more heat, by all means add more.

Get a food processor ready — this is not something you make by hand. Remove the stems from the habaneros and put them in the processor (don’t run it yet). Cut the papayas and remove most (but not all) of the black seeds inside (the seeds are edible and spicy, rather like black pepper). Scrape out the pinkish flesh and remaining seeds into the processor. Add the brown sugar, mustard, and white vinegar, then run the food processor for the first time.

You will note that the other ingredients aside from spices do not have specific amounts; this is because the recipe has always been one “to taste”. Roughly half a cup of pineapple and of orange juice, with a few tablespoons — maybe a quarter cup at most — of canola oil, with a few swirls of both molasses and honey (maybe two or three tablespoons each). Process again until well mixed.

For the spices, the measurements are for HEAPING tablespoons; don’t go cautious. I use Madras-style curry powder and a custom chili powder blend but any of them will probably do reasonably well. Add the spices in and run until the spices are well-blended in.

This produces a quart or two of a sauce that should have a consistency roughly like a very slightly thinner ketchup, a rich yellow color, and a sweet-hot-sharp taste that goes well with a lot of different foods. Enjoy!

Cedar’s note: I cut the recipe in half, and omitted one ingredient which no doubt made a huge change in the flavor, but it couldn’t be helped. The First Reader cannot eat curry. And the flavor of the sauce was very nice, sweet, spicy, and we didn’t miss the curry (well, I didn’t.)

I did use gloves while handling the habaneros, and carefully seeded and pithed them, knowing that’s where most of the heat is at in most peppers. I was interested to note that they really didn’t have much in the way of seeds. I think the reason my sauce is browner than Ryk describes is that I used blackstrap molasses. But the consistency was right.

Inner Beauty Eggs-3

And then you take the sauce and use it to make deviled eggs. The spice level of the Inner Beauty Sauce puts the Devil in the deviled eggs but they were surprisingly sweet as well.

Boil a dozen eggs, cool, and peel. I usually boil my eggs for 3-4 minutes and quench them under cold running tap water immediately to avoid having the green, sulfuric coating on the yolks.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks to a bowl, and mash them well with a big dollop (2-3 tbsp. and add more if desired) of mayonnaise. Inner Beauty Eggs-4

Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the Inner Beauty Sauce, and blend well – I could have done this in the food processor, but some vigorous working over with a pastry blender achieved the same effect. Mine were a little wet. That was ok. I then put my yolk mixture in a pastry bag with a large star tip and piped it into the half egg whites. You could just spoon it, but when I’m shooting for the blog I try to be a little fancy.

They came out very nicely, a bit sweeter than other deviled eggs, although not as sweet as the First Reader’s Angeled Eggs. Even though I was nervous about the habaneros (we usually top out at jalapenos or my favorite Anaheims) they are warmly spicy, not bitingly hot. I suppose if you wanted more heat you could add more sauce and less mayo to making this up.


They are a fun side dish, to take to a party, or potluck. I think I’d pair up a batch of these with the Angeled, paprika on these and edible flowers in the sweet ones. That would be fun as long as you warned people what they were getting! Inner Beauty Eggs-5

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2 thoughts on “Eat This While You Read That: Ryk Spoor

  1. @Francis – I have the same problem here in a smallish city of the desert SW in the US.

    This one calls for ripe papaya. You want to experiment, the flavors are slightly different, but common substitutes are mangos, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, honeydew – fruits with a subtle but sweet flavor. I’ll use honeydew when it’s in season; for some reason, I can almost always get mangos here, it works ALMOST as well.

    (Green papaya recipes are mostly using them for the “crunch” – I normally substitute celery in those.)

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