In a bowl, place all the ingredients for the meatballs. Using your fingers, gently combine everything. Dont squeeze the meat, keep it as fluffy as possible. Spread some oil on your palms and pinch lime sized balls of the mixture and line them on a plate. Cover with a cling film and set nearby till ready to use.
Using a mortar & pestle or coffee grinder, coarsely grind cloves, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Set aside.
In a wide-mouthed pot (pot should be wide enough so that all the meatballs can be placed without crowding), on medium,heat oil to smoking point. Temper the oil with cinnamon stick & tejpatta. Saute for 5-7 seconds
Add the chilli flakes and immediately odd the onion & garlic-ginger paste next, reduce heat to low,fry till the color is light brown and the raw smell is gone,about 5-7 minutes.
Continue on the low medium heat and add the ground spices along with red chilli powder, tomato puree, sugar and salt. Mix everything and fry for another 7-8 minutes or till you see oil separating on the sides of the pot.
Add hot water next and on medium heat, check the seasoning, it should be sharp salty and bring the broth to a boil.
Once the broth is boiling, reduce heat to low and wait for a minute. Carefully, layer the meatballs into the simmering broth one by one. Make sure to have enough water that the meatballs are covered. Dont stir else they will break. Cover the pot and let cook for 10-12 minutes.
We like the meatballs firm and cooked through and hence the cooking time.You will need to adjust the time depending on the tupe of mince meat used. To check whether the meatballs have cooked to your liking, after 5-7 minutes of simmering in the broth, using a fork take out one ball and cut into half. You will be able to decide on extra cooking time depending on how pink it is on the inside.
Once done switch off the stove and let sit covered for at least 30 minutes, undisturbed. Whenever ready to eat, reheat on low, discard the tejpatta & cinnamon stick, garnish with cilantro, squirt of fresh lemon juice and serve.