Put the meat in large heavy pot whose bottom has been lightly coated with oil. Over high heat brown the meat on all sides, especially fatty areas. Lower heat to simmer; add onions, tomatoes, spices, and half a cup of water. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is fork tender.
To prepare garnish: first saute onions in butter until light brown. Add the raisins, cinnamon and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then add another half cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook until liquid begins to thicken, stirring frequently. (If you choose, add a few teaspoons of suar to caramelize the sauce) Serve by ladling sauce over the stew. Eat with fresh bread or rice.