Ninja Energy Food for Vigor and Cunning

We got our Ninja Safety Smarts down recently. (Adults, if you haven’t taken this quiz with your kid or teen, please do! That way you can help them improve their personal safety.) Okay, now that that is done, are you ready to try some ninja energy food? I have done my research and done my best to reconstruct this hyorogan recipe from the lost annals of history.

Ninjas were spies and assassins in ancient Japan. And they were at their height around 1487-1603 C.E. This recipe would have been handed down as any of their secrets – from person to person, without a trace of paper or scroll that could fall into the wrong hands. However, after they were active, the Bansenshukai scrolls were written about ninjas. Fujibayashi Sabuji wrote them around the year 1867.

In those scrolls, Fujibayashi shared a hyorogan recipe. I researched other recipes for this ninja energy food as well. They all had a lot of similarity. I did my best to adapt this content for western kitchens. Disclaimer: I have not tried actually making them yet, so I’m speaking from theory. But I have done a lot of baking, steaming and cooking. In this video, Sohla El-Waylly makes hyorogan. She also makes some other ancient ninja foods in it.

Hyorogan Ninja Energy Food (ingredients converted from original amounts)

  • Sticky Rice (uncooked), generous 3 3/4 Cup
  • Regular Rice (uncooked), generous 3 3/4 Cup
  • Lotus Seeds (whole), scant ½ Cup
  • Japanese Yam/Chinese Yam, equivalent of 2 Tablespoons
  • Cinnamon (ground), 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
  • Job’s Tears (also called adlay millet, coix seeds, or Chinese pearl barley [uncooked]), 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
  • Asian Ginseng Root (powdered), 2/3 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 4 ½ Cups
  • Water, just enough to make it moist, into a stiff dough, start with few Cups and add more if needed.


If you are just trying this, and not preparing it for a small ninja army, you may find these amounts more practical:

Hyorogan Ninja Energy Food

  • Sticky Rice (uncooked), scant 1 1/3 Cup
  • Regular Rice (uncooked), scant 1 1/3 Cup
  • Lotus Seeds (whole), generous 2 Tablespoons
  • Japanese Yam/Chinese Yam, equivalent of 2 teaspoons
  • Cinnamon (ground), 1 teaspoon plus generous 1/4 teaspoon
  • Job’s Tears (also called adlay millet, coix seeds, or Chinese pearl barley [uncooked]), 1 teaspoon plus 1/3 teaspoon
  • Asian Ginseng Root (powdered), scant 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1 1/3 plus  2 generous Tablespoons
  • Water, just enough to make it moist, into a stiff dough, start with a Cup and add more if needed.

First, pulverize the rice, lotus seeds, yam and Job’s tears into a powder. (You may want to cook the yam first, especially if using the hot water method* below.) You can use a heavy mortar and pestle if you want to be authentic. Or simply grind them in a food processor. When they are powdered, add all the other solid ingredients and mix well.


This preparation technique was shared in this Japanese video for a different ninja food ball. It makes sense to me to use this technique. That’s because ninjas didn’t have refrigerators and if this was their portable “mission” food, they also probably wouldn’t have had the liberty of cooking immediately before eating them. The difference here is that you use very hot, even boiling, water to make the dough – that’s when the grains get somewhat cooked. As the lady in the video indicates, they probably won’t have the best texture. Form into balls.** Let dry completely.


This is used in just about all the hyorogan recipes and is more palatable. When you have the dry ingredients together, add room temperature water (not too much at once). Then knead until you get a stiff dough that holds together and feels like very wet sand. Form into balls.** Place balls, spaced a little bit apart, in a steam basket. Steam for about 20 minutes. Enjoy! (Refrigerate what you don’t eat.)

**NOTE: Either dampen hands, or powder hands with a little rice flour, to form into balls. Make balls about 10 millimeters or 2/5 of an inch across (that’s a little less than half an inch across).

After you have read this, prepared hyorogan, and eaten it, I figure that you have upped your Ninja Cunning quotient by several points! You’ll have to let me know how much ninja energy they give you.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger


Classical Martial Arts Research Academy, Luke Crocker, 12/1/2016, Hyorogan Military Rations, 6/29/2022, {}

Ninja Museum of Igaryu, What is a Ninja? –Foods Eaten by the Ninja, 6/29/2022, {}

Reddit, Nikolas Stefanou, 5/25/2022, The Secret Food of Ninja! Hyorogan, 6/29/2022, {}

Wikipedia, 2/20/2022, Ninja Diet, 6/29/2022, {}

Youtube, History, 1/15/2022, Sohla Cooks Ninja Stealth Food from the 1400s | Ancient Recipes With Sohla, 6/30/2022, {} Youtube, Nindo Channel, 1/5/2020, Ninja’s know how 2. Hyorogan –Ninja’s food, 6/30/2022, {}

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