It's possible to trade profitably on the Forex, the nearly $2 trillion worldwide currency exchange market. But the odds are against you, even more so if you don't prepare and plan your trades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, several analyses of retail Forex trading, including one by the National Futures Association (NFA), the industry's regulatory body, concluded that more than two out of three Forex traders lose money. This suggests that self-education and caution are recommended. Here are some approaches that may improve your odds of taking a profit. Prepare Before You Begin Trading Because the Forex market is highly leveraged -- as much as 50 to 1 -- it can have the same appeal as buying a lottery ticket: some small chance of making a killing. This, however, isn't trading; it's gambling, with the odds long against you. A better way of entering the Forex market is to carefully prepare. Beginning with a practice account is helpful and risk-free. While you're trading in your practice account, read the most frequently recommended Forex trading books, among them Currency Forecasting: A Guide to Fundamental and Technical Models of Exchange Rate Determination, by Michael R. Rosenberg is short, not too sweet and highly admired introduction to the Forex market. Forex Strategies: Best Forex Strategies for High Profits and Reduced Risk, by Matthew Maybury is an excellent introduction to Forex trading. The Little Book of Currency Trading: How to Make Big Profits in the World of Forex, by Kathy Lien is another concise introduction that has stood the test of time. All three are available on Amazon. Rosenberg's book, unfortunately, is pricey, but it's widely available in public libraries. "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," by Mark Douglas is another good book that's available on Amazon, and, again, somewhat pricey, although the Kindle edition is not. Use the information gained from your reading to plan your trades before plunging in. The more you change your plan, the more you end up in trouble and the less likely that elusive forex profit will end up in your pocket. Diversify and Limit Your Risks Two strategies that belong in every trader's arsenal are: Diversification: Traders who execute many small traders, particularly in different markets where the correlation between markets is low, have a better chance of making a profit. Putting all your money in one big trade is always a bad idea. Familiarize yourself with ways guaranteeing a profit on an already profitable order, such as a trailing stop, and of limiting losses using stop and limit orders. These strategies and more are covered in the recommended books. Novice traders often make the mistake of concentrating on how to win; it's even more important to understand how to limit your losses. Be Patient Forex traders, particularly beginners, are prone to getting nervous if a trade does not go their way immediately, or if the trade goes into a little profit they get itchy to pull the plug and walk away with a small profit that could have been a significant profit with little downside risk using appropriate risk reduction strategies. In "On Any Given Sunday," Al Pacino reminds us that "football is a game of inches." That's a winning attitude in the Forex market as well. Remember that you are going to win some trades and lose others. Take satisfaction in the accumulation of a few more wins than losses. Over time, that could make you rich!


Ma Po Tofu recipe (this Spicy Garlic Tofu from way back when, which is also delectable), but the truth of the matter is that that dish was a mere spin on this classic dish. This version is the true blue, authentic real deal—the spicy, tongue-numbing, rice-is-absolutely-not-optional, can’t-have-just-one-scoop version that you get in the restaurants.
The bright spicy red sauce has a healthy amount of oil (and when I say healthy, I mean not healthy at all) that coats the soft cubes of silken tofu, tasty bits of ground pork, scallion, and spicy Szechuan (or Sichuan) peppercorns. See those peppercorn bits? The key is that as you’re eating the tofu, the peppercorns impart bursts of that mouth-numbing ma la (numb and spicy) goodness that is Szechuan food. You can adjust to your own preferences, though; if you want it more powdery, it dissolves into the sauce, and you don’t get as much of that kick-in-the-tongue sensation. Normally, I would go for a finer consistency with the peppercorns, but a rolling pin and a plastic sandwich bag just didn’t get me as far as the mortar and pestle we have at home.
Ma Po Tofu Recipe – The REAL Deal
This ma po tofu is the true blue, authentic real deal—the spicy, tongue-numbing, rice-is-absolutely-not-optional ma po tofu that you get in the restaurants.

  • ½ cup oil, divided
  • Small handful of fresh or dried red chili peppers (I used both!), thinly sliced for fresh and roughly chopped for dried
  • 1½ tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, crushed (half chunky, half powdery) (Update: some of our readers have noted that the Sichuan peppercorns can be very strong in this dish; that's how we like it, but if you want a milder flavor, cut back to 1 tablespoon or even less, depending on your personal preference!)
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup or 8 oz. ground pork
  • 1-2 tablespoons spicy bean sauce (less if you don’t like it too salty and a little more if you’re planning on demolishing this dish with a big bowl of rice)
  • Water or chicken broth
  • 1 package silken tofu, cut into 1.5” cubes
  • 1½ teaspoons Corn Starch
  • 1 large scallion, finely chopped

How To Make :
  1. First, we make the chili oil. If you have bottled chili oil, you can skip this step. Heat your wok or a small saucepan on low. Add ¼ cup of the oil and throw in the peppers. Stir occasionally until the oil is bright red. Make sure that the peppers don’t brown! Once the oil is red (or reddish) remove from heat and set aside. You can do this in advance and let it sit on the counter. The longer it sits, the redder it’ll get.
  2. Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add your Sichuan pepper corns and stir occasionally. Let them fry very gently. You want to release the flavors without browning the peppercorns. Once the peppercorns have cooked for 2-3 minutes, add the ginger. Turn up the heat to medium high in order to lightly fry the ginger. Then add the garlic. Stir 2-3 times, then turn up the heat and add the ground pork. Break up the meat and fry it until it’s cooked through.
  3. Add the spicy bean sauce to the mixture and stir it in well. Add ⅔ cups of water or chicken broth to the wok and stir. Let this simmer for a minute or so. While that's happening, ready your tofu and also put a ¼ cup of water in a small bowl with your corn starch and mix it with a fork—make sure all the clumps are broken up.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture to your sauce and stir. Let it bubble away until the sauce starts to thicken. Then add your chili oil from before—peppers and all! Stir the oil into the sauce, and then add the tofu. Use your spatula to gently toss the tofu in the sauce. Let everything cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the scallions and stir until the scallions are juuust wilted. You can also set aside a small handful to sprinkle over the top of the finished dish. Serve hot with a nice mounded bowl of white rice!


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