In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons milk and the saffron; set aside at room temperature until the liquid turns a deep yellow-orange, 25–30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the flour, yeast, and salt; stir to combine. In a small pot over medium heat, add the remaining 1½ cups milk, sugar, and cardamom, if using. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves (do not boil). Remove from the heat, then add the ghee or butter; set aside to melt in the residual heat, about 5 minutes.
Add the milk-ghee mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, to the flour mixture, stirring constantly until a soft, shaggy dough forms. Set the remaining milk-ghee mixture aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm place until gassy and nearly doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, add the saffron-milk mixture to the remaining milk-ghee mixture, cover, and refrigerate.
Uncover the dough and give it a few more quick kneads in the bowl to deflate and tighten. Cover and set aside again until the dough is puffed and nearly doubled in volume, about 1 hour more.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, stretch the dough out into an even rectangle without completely deflating it, then use a bench scraper or chef’s knife to divide the rectangle into fourteen 1½-ounce pieces. Gently roll each piece into a round, then transfer to a large baking sheet, cover, and set aside until the dough has relaxed, 20–30 minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat a large tawa, cast-iron skillet, or nonstick skillet over medium-low. Retrieve the reserved milk mixture from the fridge and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally to melt the ghee. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Using your hands, stretch each piece of dough into 3½-inch rounds (do not use a rolling pin, as it will deflate the dough). When the tawa or skillet is hot, cook the sheermal in batches: place 4 or 5 pieces in the skillet, brush the surface of each liberally with the milk mixture, and cook, covered, until golden brown on one side, 2–4 minutes. Uncover, flip, brush again with the milk mixture, and continue cooking, covered, until cooked through, 2–4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and keep warm as you cook the remaining sheermal. Serve warm or at room temperature.