Dry roast rice flakes (Aval) for a minute. You don't want it to change color, just lightly roasted. This helps to reduce the raw smell along with adding ease while grinding into perfect texture. Cool.
Add this to a food processor
and grind into coarse meal (rava consistency). Few pulses should do it. Set aside.
In the same skillet, add 2 tsp ghee and roast the cashews. Remove the cashews and set aside.
My mother used the remaining ghee in the skillet to roast the coarse Aval to add aroma and flavor.
Add the water to the same pan and let it come to a boil. When ready, add the roasted aval back to the pan.
Stir to combine and cook the aval until soft.
Soon you will notice that it has absorbed all the water. You can touch/taste the aval to see if it has softened completely.
Now add the required amount of sugar. See my Tips section before adding it.
Stir to combine and prevent any lumps.
When it starts to thicken, add saffron, cardamom, food coloring (if using) and any remaining ghee. You can add some more Ghee if liked. It not only adds to the flavor but also gives the kesari a glossy/smooth appearance and texture.
Combine well and then finally add the roasted cashews.