Heat 1 tsp of ghee and roast the semolina in a skillet until aromatic and toasted. For a vegan version, you can sub the Ghee with oil. But you can skip the oil if cutting calories and dry roast it instead too.
While that's roasting on the side, heat another pan. I do this to reduce the cooking time. Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil and then add the mustard seeds. When it starts popping, add the asafoetida, cashews, ginger, urad dal and red chillies (along with green chilies if using). When the urad dad starts browning, add the curry leaves. All this together would take around 2 minutes on low-medium heat.
Now Increase heat to high and add 2 cups of water. Here I have to mention that though my mother always added 2 cups of water, I find personally that 2-1/2 cups works best for me. I am not sure if its the quality of semolina that I get here or the humidity (i.e the lack of it) or my electric stove top that is the reason. Start off with 2 cups and you can increase it the next time around if you find your pudding dry.
Add salt once the water comes to a boil - about 3 to 4 minutes. For the beginner cook who is not sure of the amount of salt, I would suggest adding little and taste the water. Better err on the side of less than more.
Reduce the heat to medium and the roasted semolina to the boiling water.
I know its not as obvious in the photo, but you need to keep the stirring going with your right hand while you pour the semolina with the left.
Keep the stirring action going otherwise it will form lumps. This little physical extortion is necessary for that smooth velvety texture.
You know its done when the semolina comes together into a mass without sticking to the pan. If it continues to stick, cook further for few more seconds. This process should take around another 3 minutes.
For an extra special treat, right at this moment when its almost done, sprinkle some ghee on top and stir one more time. The aroma and the taste that the ghee imparts is heavenly. But its optional and can be skipped.
Let it sit for a minute closed with a lid and garnish with cilantro.