The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Kids Make Tawa-Tawas

May 8th, 2009 · 13 Comments · Posted in Blog

Bolivian fried bread, tawas-tawas, dripping honey, dusted with sugar

Bolivian fried bread, tawa-tawas, dripping honey, dusted with sugar

Doesn’t every culture have some sort of fried bread favorite?

Where would New Orleans be without its beignets? Or Mexico its sopapillas? Or Boston its donuts?

In Bolivia, a country high in the Andes mountains of South American where our food appreciation classes are currently visiting on a virtual world food tour, they call their fried bread confection tawa-tawas. The origin of the name may be unclear. It sounds almost Japanese. But the ingredients are easily reconizable: a little flour, some egg, a rising agent and–pouf. In hot oil the dough swells into light confections filled with air. Drizzle them with honey and sprinkle with powdered sugar for a perfectly simple snack or dessert.

Kids love the process of mixing together baking ingredients, kneading dough, rolling dough with the rolling pin. It’s a good lesson in basic kitchen measurements, baking chemistry and tool use. But watch your bench flour–the kids will soon be flinging it in every direction if you turn your back.

As we discovered, a little flour goes a long way when making tawa-tawas. You can treat your whole neighborhood with this recipe. We had enough to feed almost the entire school–and that’s only a slight exaggeration. Once the kids on the playground heard what we were doing, we had a line of contenders for our platter of honey-drizzled, sugar-dusted treats. The good news is, tawa-tawas will keep another day, covered and then re-heated in the oven.

Because of the sweetness factor, and the prominence of refined flour, we consider this a rare treat rather than something to be served on a regular basis.

Mix flour with baking powder, salt, egg and water

Mix flour with baking powder, salt, egg and water

Knead dough

Knead dough


Roll out into thin sheet

Roll out into thin sheet

Use a pizza wheel for cutting dough

Use a pizza wheel for cutting dough


Fry in hot oil

Fry in hot oil

 Read more great stories about how we are taking back our food system at Fight Back Fridays.

Recipe: Bolivian Tawa-Tawas

Summary: Traditional fried bread pastries


  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2.  2 teaspoons baking powder
  3.  1 teaspoon salt
  4.  1 tablespoon softened butter
  5.  2 eggs, beaten
  6.  1/2 cup water
  7.  canola oil for frying
  8.  honey
  9.  confectioner’s sugar


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2.  Add softened butter and mix well with a spatula.
  3.  Add eggs and a drizzle of water. Mix. Continue mixing, adding water, and mixing until everything is incorporated.
  4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  5.  Cover dough with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. When dough has rested, roll it out on a floured surface until fairly thin, about one-tenth inch.
  7.  Using the tip of a sharp pairing knife, or a pizza wheel, cut the dough into rhombus-shaped pieces (like a stretched-out square). Cover and allow dough to rest about 5 minutes.
  8. Meawhile, heat oil in a deep fryer, or no more than half-way up the side of a heavy skillet.
  9.  Fry pieces of dough five or six at a time. They will puff up and turn golden. Turn them to cook both sides.
  10.  Drain fried pastries on paper towels.
  11. To serve, display tawa-tawas on a ceramic plate. Drizzle with honey, then dust with confectioner’s suagar.

CulinaryTradition: Central American

My rating: 4.5 stars

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  • keri

    these look DELICIOUS!

    thank god for FBF’s! 🙂

  • VBissell

    Just made them. The dough was hard to roll out but It worked out in the end. I hope they taste well.

  • Amanda

    Tawa-tawas are amazing. Thanks for the recipe! Also, the name comes from Quechua. “Tawa” is “four” in Quechua and traditionally it’s cut four times 🙂

  • charito

    yo entiendo mas no hablo ingles, mas me encantó tu receta – gracias

  • Valeria

    Hi. My mother is bolivian and she has a slight different version of the tawa-tawas recipe.
    they are yummy and always remind me of my childhood and my mom.
    I am glad that you also like them.


  • Iza

    very tasty :)) Great recipe

  • Olivia Bilyeu

    how many people does this serve?

  • Ed Bruske

    It’s not really designed to be divided into servings. It will make 20 modestly sized pastries.

  • Andrea

    Hi. My son plans to make these for the World Fair at school – one session during the day for students and another at night for families. Questions: Will they keep we’ll overnight if we don’t reheat them the next day? Should he wait and apply honey and sugar the next say? Are they easy to cut into really small pieces? Thanks!

  • Ed Bruske

    Andrea, I would keep them well-sealed at room temp overnight and not put anything on them until you are ready to serve.

  • Lexi

    Great food project for Latin America

  • Andrea

    Thank you sooo much. I love to bake but i used all my recipes. I love how it tastes but i changed the topping. I used different toppings like choclate drizzle and sprinkles. soooo good.